Phil Granof | Open Source Delivers | October 18, 2013

Regardless of one’s political stance, sometimes it is just plain hard to watch the woes of Obamacare. It’s a bit like watching mixed martial arts fighting – it’s often hard to distinguish the winner from the loser. The technology behind the system has continued to be an open wound, and yesterday it just got worse. In the Weekly Standard it was reported the Affordable Care Act website, Healthcare.gov, violated open source license requirements. The script at the center of the controversy is called DataTables, which is a lengthy piece of code that websites use for formatting and presenting data. The company that developed the software, SpryMedia, points out in the FAQ section of its site that:

“DataTables is free, open source software that you can download and use for whatever purpose you wish, on any and as many sites you want. It is free for you to use! DataTables is available under two licenses: GPL v2 license or a BSD (3-point) license, with which you must comply (to do this, basically keep the copyright notices in the software).”

Well guess what? Somehow the copyright and all references to the author are missing from the code. Uh oh.