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[Discuss] Govt Source Code Policy

Code written by Govt. employees is 'Public Domain', meaning specifically
exempted from copyright.

However, most? government software is written by contractors, and not
published or shared.  I don't know for sure, but I imagine that a large
amount of that work is under a proprietary license.  I think it's a giant
step in the right direction to get the Govt. to publish, and reuse (our)
software because we are paying for it once already.  However, I think that
the primary beneficiaries will be the software ISVs and VARs that will
essentially have another 'github' of govt. software to grab and bring
in-house.  The same problem is reflected at GitHub where the majority of
new projects are selecting non-free licenses now whereas a few years ago
GPL was the most popular license in the world.

See license list at
See global license popularity at
(their data may be skewed or unreliable)

Greg Rundlett

On Fri, Mar 25, 2016 at 4:24 PM, Mark Komarinski <mkomarinski at>

> I was under the impression that code written by the government was public
> domain.  You and I (and private companies) paid the taxes that generated
> that code, so releasing it in anything less than a public domain is doing a
> disservice.
> Back when I worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs there were
> companies that took the VA code, modified it for non-VA hospitals, and
> offered to provide the software and support for a fee.  I didn't find a
> problem with it then, nor do I now.  That's what public domain means.
> -Mark
> -------- Original message --------
> From: "Greg Rundlett (freephile)" <greg at>
> Date: 3/25/16 3:33 PM (GMT-05:00)
> To: blu <discuss at>, GNHLUG <gnhlug-discuss at>
> Subject: Govt Source Code Policy
> The US Fed. Govt. is proposing a pilot program to release at least 20% of
> newly developed custom code as 'OSS'.
>  They're accepting comments now.  And since it's hosted on GitHub, you
> "comment" via the issue queue, and you can also fork the project and issue
> a pull request.
> I forked it and created a pull request.
> proposing to use
> the term 'Free Software' in place of 'Open Source'
> If the government actually goes through with 'open sourcing' their work,
> it's actually a giant corporate handout because companies will have greater
> access to publicly funded works that they can then incorporate into
> proprietary works.
> What do you think?
> Greg Rundlett

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