Federal adoption of open source: It's just a question of how much

Why is the U.S. government adopting open source so broadly? Cost and flexibility.

For the U.S. federal government, it's no longer a question of "if" when it comes to open source, a Federal Computer Week article notes, but "how much" and "which projects."

Government officials who support open source now find they have a new decision to make: whether to use one of the growing number of open-source packages that could handle higher-profile agency operations, such as business intelligence analysis, content management or customer relationship management (CRM), to name a few.

I know from personal experience that there are very few federal organizations that are not already using open-source applications or are evaluating them. Recent survey data suggests that at least 55 percent of U.S. federal agencies are using open source now . I suspect the number is actually much higher. The genie is out of the bottle.

The reason is clear. As the article states, the two primary drivers of open-source adoption are "lower upfront cost and a greater ability to customize." More flexibility. Less cost. It's a perfect combination.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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