Pay more tax for better free software?

I posted over on my other blog site because the embedded poll wouldn’t work with WordPress (it only barely worked with blogger/blogspot). But since you came here, I’ll give you a bit more background on my thinking.

I think open source software has been done wrong. Whether or not the initial idea to make open source a grassroots movement was a sound one, opportunities for getting extra funding have definitely been missed. So why aren’t open source developers permanently busy writing grant applications? And why have governments not taken the initiative on a larger scale to fund specific open source projects that they saw utility in? Granted, you wouldn’t want to fund projects that are still tied to the commercial interests of private individuals, such as OpenOffice or Mozilla. I personally don’t believe that this argument stretches to companies whose main business is in providing support, such as Canonical and Red Hat. A state-funded Linux distribution may even help eliminate some of the lesser contenders in that space. And having a state-funded Linux distribution would give a clear ideological incentive for schools and universities, who are at least partly state-funded, to also use that software.

So to my mind, the way forward for open source development is through getting governments involved, and using tax money to fund specific projects, or specific objectives within those projects. The economies of developed nations are incurring huge losses every year through lack of common and open software standards. This is a problem that the state should address, in my opinion.

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