Mike Linksvayer 
Member since Nov 10, 2010


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Re: “Software Dispute Could Imperil Oakland's Budget

Thanks for reporting on this story. Complex software systems are incredibly important to the functioning of local government, which typically make themselves wholly dependent on private vendors: essentially the brains of city operations are being privatized, with all the misaligned incentives and corruption that entails.

It doesn't have to be this way. Cities could get their collective acts together and create or procure free/open source software, which would not be subject to single vendor holdups, would allow cities to collaborate to get the features they want, and would increase the transparency of operations -- anyone, say a software-savvy investigative reporter -- could examine the algorithms that govern local government.

This is beginning to happen, eg with France, Italy, and India giving priority to free/open source software in government procurement. It's a very long-term strategy which won't fix the immediate scandal. But it's necessary to prevent local government from being utterly overrun by such scandals and operational privatization as more and more operations and services are implemented as software. Oakland should take the lead in the U.S. It'd be especially appropriate as free/open source software presents a viable alternative vision for technology which benefits everyone rather than concentrating wealth and control in an elite.

26 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Mike Linksvayer on 06/03/2015 at 10:13 AM


"She also is the first Asian-American mayor of a major US city."

Not true. Norman Mineta was mayor of San Jose in 1971!

Possibly the first female Asian-American mayor of a major U.S. city.

Posted by mlinksva on 11/10/2010 at 7:56 PM

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