Open-source allies woo U.S. government

A sprawling list of companies, individuals, schools, and others join in an effort to spur the U.S. government to use more open-source software.

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Several open-source software companies and many other allies have banded together in a consortium called Open Source for America to try to persuade the U.S. government to use more of the collaboratively developed software, to participate in its development, and help its practitioners work with the government better.

The group includes more than 70 companies, academic institutions, organizations, and individuals. Among them are Linux sellers Red Hat, Novell, and Canonical; software sellers Sun Microsystems, its would-be acquirer Oracle, Mozilla, SugarCRM, Alfresco Software, Pentaho, Revolution Computing, Zmanda, EnterpriseDB, and Yahoo's Zimbra; and open-source allies including Advanced Micro Devices and Google. The full list, in all its glory, is at the organization's site, along with further lists of its board of directors, steering committee, and technical steering committee.

The group's ambitions are as broad as its membership.

"Open Source for America is bringing together some of the industry's brightest minds, who will work together with policymakers and the public so that technologies enabled by the software freedoms can help make government IT deployment more secure, more cost-effective, faster to deploy, with greater privacy, and the ability to help eliminate vendor lock-in," said David Thomas, principal with Mehlman Vogel and the organization's spokesman, in a statement. "Open-source software may not be a cure-all, but it could save billions of dollars, help foster innovation, and empower our government to work smarter."

The announcement was made in conjunction with the OSCON 2009 open-source conference.