According to its supporters open source software is more secure and reliable than proprietary code, and even tends to foster more innovation. Its technical superiority can be linked to the ongoing peer review process which typifies the open source model. In addition, programs such as Linux offer a potential challenge to the hegemony of Microsoft. Open source holds out the possibility of restraining platform leaders such as Microsoft from acting opportunistically. Some even argue that the open source code model is ethically superior to the proprietary model because of its transparency. Given these economic and social benefits, should government policy makers intervene, by tilting the playing field to open source programs? Would such government intervention truly be welfare‐enhancing? Before answering that question we note that some of the presumed technical and economic benefits of open source software are open to question. At the same time, the claims of moral superiority or social desirability are inflated and discount incentives necessary for software development. But even if this software were technically and morally superior, there is still no basis for government intervention. Our position is simple: the invisible hand of the market and not the visible hand of government should decide the fate of open source code. There is no identifiable market failure for the government to fix nor is there any plausible policy justification for giving open source software preferential treatment.
Spinello, R.A. (2003), "The future of ppen source software: Let the market decide", Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, Vol. 1 No. 4, pp. 217-233. https://doi.org/10.1108/14779960380000237Download as .RIS
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