We learned from a post in Govtech that the New Hampshire legislature approved:
“… a measure that requires state agencies
to consider open source options
when purchasing software and
to adopt open data standards”
The full text of the measure is available here: http://www.nhliberty.org/bills/view/2012/HB418, entitled:
“Relative to the use of open source software and open data formats by state agencies and relative to the adoption of a statewide information policy regarding open government data standards.”
Bill Rogers, New Hampshire CIO, talks about this new legislation in this short video.
Some highlights of the text (emphasis from us):
“This bill requires state agencies
to consider open source software
when acquiring software and
promote the use of open data formats
by state agencies.”
Some of the economic rationale for it:
- The cost of obtaining software for the state’s computer systems has become a significant expense to the state;
- The personnel costs of maintaining the software on the state’s computers has also become a significant expense to the state;
Some of the findings about what Open Source will bring to New Hampshire:
- The acquisition and widespread deployment of open source software can significantly reduce the state’s costs of obtaining and maintaining software;
- Open source software guarantees that its encoding of data is not tied to a single provider;
- Open source software enables interoperability through adherence to open, platform-neutral standards;
- Open source software contains no restrictions on how, or for how long, it may be used; and
- Since open source software fully discloses its internal operations, it can be audited, at any time and by anyone of the state’s choosing, for internal functions that are contrary to the public’s interests and rights.
Cleverly enough, they do have a clear definition of “Proprietary Software:“
III. “Proprietary software” means software
that does not fulfill all of the guarantees
provided by open source software.”
The guarantees of Open Source have been nicely listed in Section II of the document.
In the guidelines for acquisitions, the legislature gives the boot to software that abuses the rights of adopters; more specifically, it instructs to:
- Avoid the acquisition of products that do not comply with open standards for interoperability or data storage; and
- Avoid the acquisition of products that are known to make unauthorized transfers of information to, or permit unauthorized control of or modification of a state agency’s computer.
It also orders state agencies to maintain an inventory of Open Source and Proprietary software.
The whole document is a Joy to Read, and the short quotes above are only intended to entice you to read the full document.
With this move, the New Hampshire’s legislature is not only making a smart and sound economic and political decision, it is also honoring to the core their State Motto:
Time to plan vacations visiting the great State of New Hampshire!