Open Source Goes to Washington

The President of the United States is a busy man, and more than a few minutes of his day are spent reviewing information that arrived via the U. S. Mail — in fact, the only "person" we imagine gets more mail than the president is Santa Claus. While it perhaps did not make its way down Pennsylvania Avenue nestled with the electric bill and this month's TV Guide, an interesting piece of correspondence did appear early this morning, addressed to none other than the 44th President of the United States. The subject? Making Open Source an integral part of the country's economic recovery.

The message in question is an open letter to the President, signed by executives from a number of Open Source companies, calling on Mr. Obama and his to-be-named Chief Technology Officer to explore and implement Open Source software as "a key component of every new technology initiative the United States government enters into during your presidency." The letter calls for mandatory consideration of the source of an application as part of the government's acquisition/procurement policy — actually using the phrase "consider the source" — while laying out the benefits of FOSS and encouraging Mr. Obama to utilize the strengths of Open Source to promote collaboration between states and agencies.

Signed by representatives from the Collaborative Software Initiative, OpenLogic, Hyperic, Alfresco, Jaspersoft, Ingres, Unisys, and others, the letter conveys the proven track record of Open Source software and makes a compelling argument for at the least further dialogue between Open Source experts and government decision-makers. The full text of the letter is available online for the community to review; as with everything in Open Source, members of the community are welcome and encouraged to share their comments.

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