Getting an extreme right-wing National government to approve the framework was an amazing achievement. NZGOAL officially advises the public service to release publicly-funded works under a license, and later software under a license in the Software Extension to NZGOAL.

During the NZGOAL consultation process, I argued that the appropriate default license to recommend would be . When any work is created at public expense, its public service maintainers ought to be allowed improve it by incorporating any fixes or additions made in derivative versions, especially commercial derivatives. I argued for GPL as the default license recommendation for NZGOAL-SE, for the same reason. As did President Dave Lane.

Sadly, and perhaps because of the political circumstances, the default suggested in NZGOAL is . This laissez-faire license means, for example, that map companies can sell corrected maps based on the publicly-funded NZ map data shared under CC BY by (Land Information New Zealand), but LINZ would need to ask permission to incorporate those map corrections back into the public dataset (used in ). This is something I'd like to see fixed, by changing the default to .


The situation in NZGOAL Software Edition is somewhat better. Public service agencies are advised to license any modifications to an existing codebase under the license the upstream codebase uses, even when they're not legally obliged to (ie a non-copyleft license). When licensing new software, they're advised to use either (v3+) or "", and to consider or where appropriate.

I'd still prefer a license (GPL, LGPL, or AGPL as appropriate) to be the default recommendation. I don't see why we ought to allow companies to build proprietary software on top of publicly-funded . Why not oblige them to make their source code available to their users, and allow their fixes and addition to be incorporated back into the upstream versions maintained by public service agencies or open source communities?

Failing that, I'd like to see Apache 2.0 replace "MIT" as the recommended laissez-faire license. NGGOAL-SE quite rightly points out that NZ patent law doesn't allow , and that public service agencies are not anyway. But that doesn't stop outside contributors to publicly-funded licensed under the "MIT" license, from enforcing software patents on anyone using that code in other jurisdictions. Apache 2.0 explicitly prevents this.

In summary, it was an honour and a privilege to be part of the efforts by (now ) and to bring NZGOAL and its Software Extension into existence, and to contribute to the consultations on them. Now that we have a new, more public-spirited government, it's time to start campaigning for 2.0 versions that maximize public access to publicly-funded works *and* their derivatives.

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