Is America Ready for Open Source?

Posted by on July 24, 2009

It was announced earlier this week at the O’Reilly Open Source Convention that major groups have teamed up to form Open Source For America, a coalition of industry leaders, non-government groups and academic/research institutions organized to serve as a centralized advocate to encourage the use of open source in the federal government.

“The mission of Open Source for America is to serve as a centralized advocate and to encourage broader U.S. Federal Government support of and participation in free and open source software. Specifically, Open Source for America will: help effect change in policies and practices to allow the Federal Government to better utilize these technologies; help coordinate these communities to collaborate with the federal government on technology requirements; and raise awareness and create understanding among federal government leaders about the values and implications of open source software. “

The founding members include prominent open source organizations such as Red Hat, Sun, Mozilla and Alfresco, and non open source giants such as Google and Oracle.

It’s evident that the open source movement has come a long way over the past few years as it slowly crept its way into enterprises, and are now tackling the monstrous federal government.

This time open source isn’t alone. Backed by over 70 groups and powerhouses like Google, Oracle and Red Hat, open source is ready to take on the challenge. It’s no question that the federal government is traditionally known to be a slow moving mammoth in adopting new technologies, and especially resistant when it comes to open source software. What OSA will hopefully accomplish is to debunk those myths about OSS, and highlight the advantages.

Who knows, the federal government might be ready for a change after all. The 2008 Democratic National Convention already made the plunge by opting for an open source CMS, Silver Stripe. And with
all the changes the Obama administration is bringing, the federal government may be taking a step back from its set old ways and view open source with an open mind.


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