07:04 AM
Core System Testing: How to Achieve Success
Oct 06, 2016
Property and Casualty Insurers have been investing in modernizing their core systems to provide fl ...Read More>>

Congressman Criticized For Attacking Free Software Movement

Washington Rep. Adam Smith, whose biggest contributor is Microsoft, is blasted by head of a House technology committee.

Microsoft, the House technology committee, and a Washington state congressman are involved in a flap over free software.

Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., whose biggest campaign contributor is Microsoft, was criticized by the technology committee Wednesday for an addendum to an official letter that criticized open-source software distributed under the GNU General Public License. GPL software competes with Microsoft Windows and some of the company's other products.

The controversy started when a bipartisan group of lawmakers submitted a letter to White House computer security adviser Rickard Clarke urging him to find sales opportunities for government-funded software projects. The letter's authors want the White House's national cybersecurity plan, due for completion next month, to ensure that companies that develop software using federal money are free to sell the resulting products for commercial gain. The letter made no mention of open-source software.

But when Smith, whose re-election campaign has received $22,900 from Microsoft employees and its political action committee, began circulating the letter to fellow Democrats asking for their signatures, he attached a correspondence saying that open-source software "threaten(s) to undermine innovation and security." A spokeswoman for Smith says the congressman spoke with Microsoft about the issue, but there wasn't a direct link between those conversations and his letter, according to reports.

The original letter was written by Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., chairman of the Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology and Procurement Policy, and Rep. Jim Turner, D-Texas. A spokeswoman for the subcommittee says Smith "twisted" the letter into a "debate over the open-source GPL issues." Sixty-seven representatives--mostly Democrats--signed the letter to Clarke.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Top IT Trends to Watch in Financial Services
IT pros at banks, investment houses, insurance companies, and other financial services organizations are focused on a range of issues, from peer-to-peer lending to cybersecurity to performance, agility, and compliance. It all matters.
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.