Posted by: commonsresource | April 26, 2010

Follow the Leader – what governments can learn from Obama’s open source revolution

Last Friday, computing.co.uk posted a short article by Dawinderpal Sahota entitled How the UK government can follow Obama’s open source revolution. He starts his article by noting that the Obama White House, a major user of open source software, is releasing certain custom Drupal open source software back to the community.  (The White House “gift” is very well described in Nate Anderson’s The White House: open-source Drupal developer? post on the Ars Technica Open Ended blog.)

Dawinderpal then discusses the situation in the U.K. and notes the following:

Research firm Gartner explained that until recently, the UK government had maintained a conservative attitude toward open source, but said that it has begun operating a policy calling for “positive actions toward the adoption of open source”.

He goes on to quote Andrea DiMaio, a Gartner governmental analyst, that

The UK policy on the use of open source, open standards and the reuse of government-purchased software has the potential to have a long-lasting impact on cost containment and change the relationships with government suppliers.  However, it requires careful implementation and a better balance between the desire for openness and risk management.

In particular, Dawinderpal note the inportant observation by Gartner that “In order to procure cheaper solutions and more open source, IT staff need to increase their skills in areas such as licensing and support issues”.

I look forward to continuing to work with the public and private sector to address the existing open source software licensing knowledge gap.  In particular, I look forward to the role that my new service will play in helping others Follow the Leader!


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