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California blesses open source as 'acceptable'

The state has long used open-source software but has belatedly blessed its use as "acceptable," which may drive further adoption.

Among the budget cuts California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed to health care, prison, environment, and other parts of the state budget, there's one area that has a good chance of actually getting a budget increase: open source in IT.

According to a policy letter (PDF) issued last week by California CIO Teri Takai, "the use of Open Source Software (OSS) in California state government [has now been formally established] as an acceptable practice."

Corinne Schulze/CNET

It's about time.

California faces a $20 billion budget deficit, a gaping void that open-source software, no matter how aggressively used by the state, cannot fill.

Still, as noted by Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst, stalling economies have turned many organizations to open source as a prescription for IT budget shortfalls: more value despite spending less money.

California is included in that list of organizations that has turned to open source, and long before its CIO blessed open source as "acceptable." In addition to state agencies buying into open source, there is the California Open Source Textbook Project.

California's official open-source policy doesn't make its adoption mandatory, but California citizens may take heart that it's now acceptable for the state to save them money by intelligent adoption of open-source software. Perhaps this will spark increased adoption of open source within the state.