Free software and public administrations?

Simo Sorce simo.sorce at
Tue Nov 26 15:16:44 UTC 2002

On Tue, 2002-11-26 at 15:41, Anton Zinoviev wrote:
> The opponents of the free software say that the state security
> services want to distribute their algorithms but only in a binary and
> without permition for redistribution.

Why should they distribute this software? Is it need to be able to use a
public service? A secret algorithm in the security field is useless by

> > If they are good algorithms you don't have problems in publishing
> > them and the community would gladly accept them. If they're not, you
> > can keep them secret anyway, as they would be useless.
> True, but anyway there are laws that make such algoriths secret.

That's a big problem, but the law cannot make algorithms that are yet
public secret (generally).

> Nobody is allowed to publish them and nor even talk about them.  The
> situation is similar to the problem with patents.  GPL says that you
> are not allowed to distribute patented algorithm under GPL if you
> don't give the same rights to the whole community.  And here the law
> says that you are not allowed to distribute the source of particular
> algorithm, hence it can not be implemented in GPL program.

If the law is an obstacle you can try to live with LGPLed software that
use closed modules if you find no other way.
Tough as has yet been said, any algorithm that is secret is just a bad
one, and make no sense. The power of an encryption system is in the fact
that the algorithm is public, only the keys need to be secret.


Simo Sorce - simo.sorce at
Xsec s.r.l.
via Durando 10 Ed. G - 20158 - Milano
tel. +39 02 2399 7130 - fax: +39 02 700 442 399
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: signature.asc
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 232 bytes
Desc: This is a digitally signed message part
URL: <>

More information about the Discussion mailing list