Open Source software a matter of life and death

OK, I love using my mac. I love the way iMovie works and the software just talks to each other. But I can’t help thinking how great it will be when / if Open Source ever catches up to and overtakes the like of Mac and Microsoft. For years in the print industry printers we dealt with resisted us designers upgrading to the next Quark or Indesign. They didn’t want to have to make that expensive leap across all their machines! Now imagine it is free. Everyone would easily upgrade to the latest standard. It would be extremely convenient for everyone.

But now it seems open software could be a matter of life and death. As slashdot writes:

“Software on medical implants is not open to scrutiny by regulatory bodies. Glyn Moody writes: ‘Software with the ability to harm as well as help us in the physical world needs to be open to scrutiny to minimise safety issues. Medical devices may be the most extreme manifestation of this, but with the move of embedded software into planes, cars and other large and not-so-large devices with potentially lethal side-effects, the need to inspect software there too becomes increasingly urgent.’ A new report ‘Killed by Code: Software Transparency in Implantable Medical Devices’ from the Software Freedom Law Center points out that, as patients grow more reliant on computerized devices, the dependability of software is a life-or-death issue. ‘The need to address software vulnerability is especially pressing for Implantable Medical Devices, which are commonly used by millions of patients to treat chronic heart conditions, epilepsy, diabetes, obesity, and even depression.’ Will making the source code free to scrutiny address the issue of faulty devices?”

via Slashdot Linux Story | Free Software, a Matter of Life and Death.

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