Linux News: North Korea’s “Red Star” Linux, and is FOSS an Enemy of the State?

North Korea announced their own distribution of Linux called “Red Star.”  It’s aimed at the North Korean People and Government and provides a Korean language interface.  Meanwhile the International Intellectual Property Alliance (which coincidentally is made up of mainly American based organizations) claims that because Open Source options deny “legitimate companies” a place in governments, then any government that uses Open Source software should be deemed an “Enemy of the State.”

Now, here’s my take on this.  If a Government purchases a closed source application, they do not know what is in the code.  Yes, they can get the source code from the manufacturer.  But until they do, they could potentially be leaking information to other Governments through the manufacturer.  **NOTE that there is no proof of this happening that I know of…****

However, if they use Open Source software, they limit the chances of this happening.  Why? Because they can have their coders look through the source code and remove anything that they deem a security risk.  And they can compile the updated code—without risking loss of data or secrets.  Plus with the code being open, the chances of a company sneaking something into the product are nil.  This is because the Open Source Community won’t stand up for it.  It goes against the Free Open Source Software principles.  Can the IIPA say the same about their closed source counterparts?

Now, unlike the IIPA (and to an extent some of the Open Source Community), I feel that there is a place for both.  It boils down to whichever product provides the most effective tools for the situation.  In some cases, Open Source provides the tools.  In others, it’s closed source (or open source designed to run on closed source systems).  The Government (as well as the People) should have the right to choose whichever product suits their needs better—without fear of being called an “Enemy of the State” from organizations like the Business Software Alliance, MPAA, RIAA, Association of American Publishers,  Entertainment Software Association, Independent Film & Television Alliance, and the National Music Publishers’ Association. (These are some of the organizations in the IIPA.)

So, please read the article, and come back here with your comments.  I’d really appreciate them (both for or against Open Source).  And I’m working my way back into daily blogging, so I’ll be back soon.

Have a great day:)

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