Monday Dec 15, 2008

Should the government pay for open source?

The most serious lock-in is still CAD.  Why do I say this?  Because there are no alternatives.  All CAD software is proprietary and all their codes are reverse-engineer legally proof.  Thats to say it is illegal to reverse engineer it, as far as can be told on a very messy and unclear situation that the companies in question promote.  CAD software is used for engineering work be that buildings or items - electronics, chairs, cars.  The individual has unprecedented control and ability in the modern age.  We can make our own circuit boards from Italy for example and have a small batch of a few hundred made!  But without a CAD program we, the public, are still locked out from this.

 As I have heard a compelling argument more recently - open source software, free software is about democracy.  It may not do the job of its commercial counterparts, it may be superior but it can work even if it does the job longer and messier.  As a user of open source programs and commercial programs I can without a doubt say that many of the open source programs do the job as quickly and cleanly as their counterparts.  But the argument is, now everyone in the world no matter where you are can buy a computer and with free (permitted access rather than free as in cash) internet access can download programs to make music, pictures, edit films, publish, write, compute and edit photos.  Everyone in the world now has a free voice.  But for CAD software.

In the interests of the nation things such as IPlayer was paid for by the BBC - it gave the people access to view BBC online, power to the people, freedom to the people - should the government in such interests not then promote and sponsor open source development as a means for, not the average person, not the common person, for EVERY PERSON to be able to do and take part in what they wish.  The American Ideal was that if someone worked hard enough they could make it, that everyone was equal and that the 'lowest' could train to become whatever they wish.  That is outdated.  Today why can everyone not partake in what they wish WHEN they wish.  Let us become once more Renaissance Men and Women.  Well rounded and knowledgeable and able in all things.  And if not - let us at least have the choice to be able to do so!

Comments:

Thank you! CAD has a way of exporting most its data (given it's lines, points and polygons) into the - broadly accessible - shapefile format! But you have to open the drawing first in order to do that. And thank goodness programs like gvSIG have to option to attach, display and save-back (as shapefile) .dxf files! So - there is a way around using CAD but it's not the neatest...

Posted by Anna on December 15, 2008 at 11:50 AM GMT+00:00 #

True and for geographical work such as the stuff we archaelogists do we can use the work when it has been made - in Illustrator or the like or Geographical software such as GIS technology. But for designing objects or buildings.... Google sketch-up is the best thing out there and its simply not a computer design program!!!!

Posted by Caoimhín on December 15, 2008 at 10:50 PM GMT+00:00 #

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