Right. I kinda threw out that bit about the inter-tubes as a sort of bitter joke, in case anyone takes that too seriously.
Still, I doubt The Internet makes the case for the government improving software through government legislation. I recall Usenet being really useful before The Public (or, more specifically, cross-posting salesmen suffering from a severely diminished mental acuity) reduced it to so much trash. And how much of the internet's achievements grew from government legislation, rather than a well-reasoned set of RFCs that either became adopted or ignored due to the strengths of their merit?
NASA's achievements strike me less as inspired by government legislation than a desire to keep from killing people. If I had similar resources, I'd likely do precisely what they do as well... no need for government legislation to guide them to best practices.
Isn't that the issue here? Best practices?
I don't care how many eyes you have in your head or the strength of your halitosis, if you can write something that won't cost me millions of dollars in maintenance and works quite well, I'm using your code. We have too much money on the line, and the risk of too many hours of wasted, boring effort on rubbish, to have knuckle-dragging sacks of loose-fitting skin telling me who I should hire, why I should hire them, and what code I should put in our system.
If those people had any true compassion, they would help their chosen pets to become so awesome nobody wouldn't think of hiring anyone else. How insulting, truly, to know that someone had to bully someone else to get your contributions pushed to the front of the line instead of having them stand on their own merits. How condescending ... "Oh, well, because you have blobs of fatty tissue in just the right places, we'll push your code in front of this amazingly well-designed code that this other genius with the mistake of being white, straight, and male wrote. Because, you know... you deserve it."