Government uses open source software today more than ever

Open source in U.S. government in five minutes

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Gunnar Hellekson, Technology Strategist for Red Hat's U.S. Public Sector Group, presents a timeline created by tying together data about software the government has released as open source.

Interesting facts:

  • Big stretch in the '90s where not much happens, then Obama Administration comes to the White House.
  • Popular press makes the government using Linux sound like a brand new idea, but they've been doing it comfortably for 10 years.
  • The Department of Defense (DoD) took time passing rules allowing open source software use, while the Department of Energy was just doing it, and had been for some time.  
  • A 2009 DoD memo stated that open source software is safe to use and has attributes that should be encouraged—was the final measure needed to legitamize open source in government.
  • Those in government who write memos pertaining to open source, typically end up being the ones who write the policies for it too. 
  • Open source is now on equal footing with commercial software—catergorized as "commerical off-the-shelf software" (COTS). 
  • Research opportunities concerning open source in government abound.

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About the author

Gunnar Hellekson - I'm the Chief Strategist for Red Hat's US Public Sector group, where I work with systems integrators and government agencies to encourage the use of open source software in government. I'm a founder of Open Source for America, one of Federal Computer Week's...