The Collaborative Software Initiative and other backers of Open Source Software sent a letter to President Obama requesting that he mandate federal agencies consider how software purchased by the federal government is developed.
The letter stated that the open and collaborative way that open source software is developed mirrors the way that Obama wants to shape the government. It’s openness for for development and collaboration transparency is the way that Obama has said that he wants the US government to be in all of it’s dealings. The letter was signed by Collaborative Software Initiative Senior Developer David Christiansen and Chief Executive Officer Stuart Cohen, along with 14 CEOs of software development companies,
Paul Jones, an information science professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says that Open-source software is already widely used by the military and intelligence agencies. He also believes that software developers are not likely to get an exclusive open-source mandate and that open-source solutions should compete on their merits, which are many.
“In some cases, open-source, or at the very least open formats, should be required so that the software, procedures…can be audited,” Jones said. “For archiving purposes, and for Freedom of Information Act purposes, software source and format definitions should be at minimum placed in escrow.”
The letter went on to say that open source reduces costs in the areas of application hosting and development and added that “the Obama administration should consider open-source software in its effort to standardize and digitize medical records”.
I for one am all for this. At the very least it makes agencies move away from Microsoft FUD and consider other alternatives for technology needs. In turn, if the software stands on it’s own merits and provides the required functionality, which I it will, the financial burden of the tax payers is greatly reduced.
References: Federal Computer Week