New U.S. CIO could be a big win for open source

The United States' new CIO loves Google, but for the very same reasons he may become an advocate for open source.

Vivek Kundra, the United States first CIO Sorensen Institute

As the global economy craters, CIOs are looking for ways to do more with less. As Vivek Kundra, the United States' first-ever CIO, suggests, however, this penny-pinching may not benefit frugality's posterchild, Microsoft:

Why should I spend millions on enterprise apps when I can do it [with Google] at one-tenth cost and ten times the speed?

While Kundra is outspoken in his praise of Google, it's no secret that the Obama administration also sees open source as a way to boost productivity and lower costs. Indeed, Kundra's quote above could have been pulled from the brochures of just about any commercial open-source vendor's website.

While Kundra's direct spending power may be slight, his influence over $71 billion in federal IT spending may be substantial, as The New York Times suggests.

Granted, open source has already made extensive inroads to federal IT . Kundra's appointment as U.S. CIO, however, opens the door to new competitors--Google and open source among them--even wider. He says he plans to take a pragmatic approach to IT spending, but that's all open source needs to thrive.

Follow me on Twitter at mjasay.

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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