Wednesday Jul 22, 2009

Open Source and the US Government

Sun has long been an advocate in the use of Open source software in the government (both US and abroad).  In fact, Sun Federal President and COO Bill Vass has created a series of blog entries about why the government can benefit from open source.  These reasons include:

Now, Sun and a broad array of industry giants have created the Open Source for America Consortium. In addition to Sun, founding members include Oracle, Google, Red Hat, Gnome foundation, Mozilla, Collabnet and others.  The board of advisors includes a number of industry and government luminaries that I've had the pleasure of working with in the past including:

  • Dawn Meyeriecks (formerly of DISA as well as AOL)
  • Marv Langston (former DoD Deputy CIO)
  • Bill Vass
  • Art Money (former DoD CIO)
  • Simon Phipps (Sun's Chief Open Source Officer)
From the OSA web site:

The mission of OSA is to educate decision makers in the U.S. Federal government about the advantages of using free and open source software; to encourage the Federal agencies to give equal priority to procuring free and open source software in all of their procurement decisions; and generally provide an effective voice to the U.S. Federal government on behalf of the open source software community, private industry, academia, and other non-profits. The mission incorporates three goals: (1) to effectuate changes in U.S. Federal government policies and practices so that all the government may more fully benefit from and utilize free and open source software; (2) to help coordinate these communities to collaborate with the Federal government on technology requirements; and (3) to raise awareness and create understanding among federal government leaders in the executive and legislative branches about the values and implications of open source software. OSA may also participate in standards development and other activities that may support its open source mission.

While some consider the "open source" movement to be a religion or political agenda designed to socialize software or kill proprietary vendors, what it really boils down to is simply developing software outside the company firewall so that you can take advantage of the strengths of the community.  To quote Bill Joy (former Sun co-founder), "Innovation often happens elsewhere."

Sun offers a wide variety of supported, enterprise class open source projects including MySQL, OpenSolaris, OpenSSO, Glassfish and more.  Download some open source Sun software today and you too can start experiencing the benefits of open source.

Federal Government customers can contact Sun's sales office in McLean VA by calling 703 204 4100.


About

Jim Laurent is an Oracle Sales consultant based in Reston, Virginia. He supports US DoD customers as part of the North American Public Sector hardware organization. With over 17 years experience at Sun and Oracle, he specializes in Solaris and server technologies. Prior to Oracle, Jim worked 11 years for Gould Computer Systems (later known as Encore).

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