Advocates marching for open source to be law

Open source advocates are forming a protest march in California to attempt to increase support for a legislative proposal they have created, which suggests state agencies be banned from using software which has restrictions on its source code.

The 'Digital Software Security Act' attempts to show that open-source software licences would help prevent 'abuses' which proprietary licences impose on users. The main reason the proposal was created is, according to its authors, to battle the security problems and cost of software by companies like Microsoft. Part of it states: "The legislative intent is that for software to be acceptable to the state, it is not enough that it is technically capable of fulfilling a task".

The legislature won't be receiving the proposal yet as there isn't enough support for the bill to be introduced, according to one of its backers - Assemblyman Juan Vargas. The support of several legislators has been gained by the group though.

The proposal is backed by IBM, Red Hat, Mandrakesoft and Linux International. The main person behind the bill, Walt Pennington, has said that when the announcement is made "Microsoft is going to flood San Diego with free hardware, free software and free services". Red Hat's chief operating officer has spoken to saying: "If we can get the open source movement as excited about modifying legal code as they are about C++ and Java, I think they lobbying will take off itself".

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