Open source report no longer ‘infectious’

Lobbying from the Open Source Society and Green MP Nandor Tcanzos helps SSC review its guidelines

The State Services Commission has issued a new version of its guidelines regarding the legal risks of using open source software in government agencies.

The original report, issued in February, attracted criticism from open source advocates, including Green MP Nandor Tanczos, for what he called its “loaded” language, using the term “infection” to describe the propagation of rights under an open source licence when the software is used in another application.

The new set of guidelines, written with help from the NZ Open Source Society, avoids the term, instead using “propagation” to describe the same effect, and “constrain” in place of “quarantine”.

The document has been updated with more and clearer details of the various kinds of licences, and, in general, appears more tightly written.

The new version of the report and a link to the archived February version can be viewed on the e-government website -

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