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Note on misuse of the term "open source" in COTS comments
- To: "COTS Special Task Group, P1583" <COTS@lipsio.com>
- Subject: Note on misuse of the term "open source" in COTS comments
- From: "Vincent J. Lipsio" <Vince@lipsio.com>
- Date: Mon, 2 Feb 2004 09:00:01 -0500 (EST)
- Organization: Lipsio Enterprises, a Corporation
- Reply-to: <COTS@lipsio.com>
The term "open source" seems to be used by some commenters to mean "open to public inspection" or "publicity available" or "not a trade secret" or whatnot.
However, the usual definition of "open source" (such as found at http://www.opensource.org/docs/definition_plain.php ) includes a great deal more than what is intended, judging from the context; what is being advocated is not that voting equipment application software be open to proposed modification by anyone who volunteers to work on it, but rather that it be open to the general public for review and scruntinizing. Therefore, I'm inclined to change the term "open source" to something more accurate except where already existing open source components, e.g., Linux, are not being referred to.
Also, on a related note, those who agree with application software being available for public inspection probably also want the entire device, not just the software, to have a design open to review by the general public. This is especially a problem with firmware in the sense of programmable logic and custom chips; else, the possibility is being left open to some vendor moving code to an FPGA or ASIC to evade the open software requirement.