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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.