This article is also cross-posted to my intelink blog.
Part of the Antideficiency Act (codified at 31 U.S.C. § 1342) reads as follows:
An officer or employee of the United States Government or of the District of Columbia government may not accept voluntary services for either government or employ personal services exceeding that authorized by law except for emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property. . . .
I have heard this admonition at various times in the context of Open Source Software: if the government cannot accept “voluntary services”, then presumably it cannot allow people to volunteer to write open-source software for the government. Maybe it can’t even use open source software, since it was either written by volunteers or at least licensed for use voluntarily…?
These concerns are, of course, completely wrong, as I will endeavor to show: