14 January 2009

Economising with Open Source

Here's an interesting sign of the times. High-profile economist Dean Baker calls for "Funding for the Development of Open Software" as part of a stimulus package:

the government can spend $2 billion a year to develop open source software. This money can be used to further develop and simplify open source operating systems such as Linux, as well other forms of free software. The payoffs from this spending would be enormous. Imagine that every computer buyer in the world would be able to get a computer for which the operating system was free, as was almost all the software that they would ever use.

This would surely save consumers an average of at least $200 per computer. With sales at close to 20 million a year, the savings in the United States alone could easily exceed the cost of supporting software development. Adding in the benefits (and presumably some contributions) from the rest of the world, we will be way ahead by going the route of publicly funded open software open software. The cost would be $2 billion a year.

The message is spreading.... (Via Slashdot.)


Leslie P. Polzer said...

I'm not an economist but from what is happening here in Germany it seems that government is not taking measures that benefit the public as a whole but rather things that make people buy (and pay) more stuff.

So open-source doesn't really figure in that plan, I guess.

Glyn Moody said...

In other words, the same old same old - consuming instead of creating and collaborating...