Some of the world’s largest technology companies have banded together in a bid to push open-source software on the United States government. They’ve formed a group called Open Source for America, which seeks to make sure that government agencies at least consider open-source software as an option in their buying decisions, The New York Times reports. The big, rather timely pitch behind this move is that open-source applications can help save the government money. "The market for open-source software is growing dramatically, but there still needs to be education around understanding how to get the most out of it," said Roger Burkhardt, the chief executive of Ingres, a maker of an open-source database, who is on the Open Source for America board of advisers. "There are quirks to the government procurement process that need to be addressed." Open-source companies often give away their base product and then charge customers for support and other services. This model, according to Mr. Burkhardt, can perplex government bodies used to buying software upfront. In addition, the group hopes to make sure that open-source software receives the necessary federal nods for use in things like drug approvals and high-security computing projects. Some of the initial members of the organization include Google, Oracle, Red Hat, Advanced Micro Devices, Novell and Canonical. A host of smaller open-source software makers are involved as well.

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