Open Source Makes Waves in Government

Fast on the heels of cloud-computing, open source software is making a big splash on the government IT scene.

The VA recently released a RFP for an open source solution for its Veterans Integrated System Technology EHR system, and the Defense Department has jumped on the open source train as well.

In response to the emerging open source trend, Lockheed Martin and Market Connections Inc., released this week a study investigating federal agency’s adoption of open source solutions.

“When Vivek Kundra, the U.S. chief information officer, unveiled his 25-point implementation plan for IT reform, one of his top initiatives was a call to shift to a cloud-computing first policy,” said Melvin Greer, senior fellow and chief strategist on cloud computing for Lockheed Martin. “We believe that the use of open source software will facilitate this shift, as a way to speed implementation, lower costs and drive the development of standards for cloud computing.”

Lockheed found 69 percent of contractors polled reported their companies use open source software, while only 40 percent of federal responders said their agencies use OSS.

Further questioning showed federal clients lacked an understanding of OSS, but understood open source to be cost-efficient, effective solutions.

The study indicates federal open source solutions offer government contractors a new market. Lockheed expects OSS spending to grow and expand over the next year.

“One major takeaway is that while most federal respondents believe that OSS is the wave of the future, acceptance is hindered by a widespread lack of understanding and awareness,” said Cynthia Poole, research director at Market Connections.


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