Linux has a strong history of deployments in government agencies around the globe and has helped drive the adoption of open source applications in government in recent years. But, we have a long, winding road in front of us. Research firm Gartner predicts that only 25% of government vertical, domain-specific applications will either be open source or contain software developed by a community by 2011.
Some may see this as a victory, but I see it as not good enough. The members of the organization announced today, Open Source for America, agree. We see it as an opportunity to educate government on open source software while effecting change in policy and coordinating collaboration on requirements specific to government.
Linux is a perfect example of how open source moves its way up through the ranks of business and government. Federal agencies will to see that Linux has already proven extremely effective. Consider one of the earliest examples of Linux in government - - as early as 1995, a small suburb in Orange County moved its municipal computer system to Linux. Today, Orange County is home to an active Linux User Groups (LUGs). Fourteen years later and after a hundreds of government Linux deployments, the United States Postal Service this month said it is moving 1300 servers used for its tracking package system to Linux. And, the agency said that this migration is part of a larger one intended to standardize on open source software to lower operating costs and increase the number of transactions the system can handle – that’s increasing on 40 million transactions a day.
We have an opportunity now to move Linux and open source closer to a tipping point in government. With a federal administration voicing its support and commitment to reducing costs and enabling better IT infrastructure across healthcare, defense and other major sectors, the time is right for a collective voice that can educate Washington policy makers about these critical technologies.
A more cost effective and open government is something everyone can agree is good for our country. These are the principles open source has been putting into practice for years. The Linux Foundation looks forward to working with Open Source in America to educate Washington on the value of open source.