When you read things like this report from the Federal Open Source Alliance, you've got to feel for Microsoft, Oracle, etc. They're making bank today, but if open source trends continue, the future will look very different from today's lock-em-in and fleece-them-hard model.
Across the globe, governments have led the adoption of open-source software. The United States, however, has tended to lag behind (followed by the United Kingdom). Recent numbers, however, indicate that we're picking up open-source steam here in the USA.
Consider the following numbers gleaned from FOOA's survey of Department of Defense, Federal civilian, and Intelligence IT executives:
- 71% of all US federal respondents believe that their agency can benefit from open source (with 88% within the intelligence community holding this view because of advanced security within open source);
- 55% of all respondents have been or are involved in an open-source implementation (and 90% of those that have implemented believe they have benefited from it - talk about killer approval ratings - which may be why 29% of those who have not implemented are planning to do so in the next 12 months...);
- Respondents (who have implemented) cite advanced security as the top benefit open source delivers. This was the top reason at 30% of respondents, and it's somewhat odd since 34% of those who have done implementations cite security as open source's biggest challenge (while another 27% are worried that open-source solutions will become proprietary);
- Only 1-3% of open-source implementations were deemed "unsuccessful." That's a pretty great hit rate
Open source is truly ascendant. It's nice to have my tax dollars recognizing this. I can say from personal Alfresco experience that open-source applications (at least content management) is booming within the federal government. We've closed deals with several of the US' largest federal agencies, with more joining each month.
It's a very good time to be in open source.