Posted by: commonsresource | February 25, 2010

They found their mind in San Francisco

Late last month, the Mayor of the City of San Francisco, Gavin Newson,  announced the adoption of a new Software Evaluation Policy. This policy, which came into effect on February 1, 2010, applies to new software purchase over $100, 000 and requires city “departments to consider open source alternatives, when available, on an equal basis to commercial software, as these may reduce cost and speed the time needed to bring software applications to production”.

Having had the great privilege of working as a government policy analyst (one of my best jobs ever!) and of presenting to a number of government groups on open source software issues, I am somewhat familiar with the many challenges that governments and other public authorities face in this area.  When this “public”  dimension is combined with the very significant challenges surrounding the “procurement” of open source software into any commercial business,  the path forward for many government and other public groups in this area is far from easy or clear.  That being said, I am convinced that the appropriate adoption and use of open source software by governments and other public bodies will bring great opportunities and benefits far beyond any potential cost savings.  I make my public call for public bodies to follow the San Francisco lead.


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