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“Change” to Open Source

In an open letter to the Obama administration, a group of software vendors is encouraging the US Government to switch over to open source. The letter tries to impress upon the new president, the benefits of open source by likening open source to Obama’s campaign philosophy of hope, change, and openness.

It’s curious to note that these vendors are actually commercial vendors and specifically plugging TriSano — an open source, citizen-focused surveillance and outbreak management system for infectious disease, environmental hazards, and bio-terrorism attacks. These proponents of open source are not like your regular Linux fan boys. They’re entrepreneurs who appreciate the cost efficacy of collaborative development. However, it turns out that the US administration has been using open source for quite some time now, especially the Department of Defense. Linux and other open source technologies have been used by the DoD in a wide range of deployment areas, including the Army Future Combat Systems program and the Land Warrior program.

The obvious advantages that the administration hopes to gain is in terms of lesser risk of vendor lock-in and lower IT infrastructure costs. The same advantages can be leveraged into servicing other areas such as schools and other public utilities.