the visible hand

it is the theory which decides what can be observed – einstein

DoD learned to stop worrying and love open source

Posted by ecoshift on September 11, 2008

This isn’t one my preferred uses for Open Source Software, but the cost-benefit logic is telling.  While I’m not a coder I do have my laptop set to dual boot to XP and Ubuntu.  XP is running almost all OSS software and Ubuntu is fully open source: open office suite, firefox browser, sunbird calendar, thunderbird email, etc.  This OSS set up is working fine for on-the-road/everyday computing and communication.  It even reads and writes the new docx MS file format.  Wouldn’t mind an open source 3g cell phone to tether to the laptop as well.

MS watch out…  so far XP is still the default boot, but it won’t be long…

How the DoD learned to stop worrying and love open source
By Ryan Paul | Published: September 10, 2008 – arstechnica.com

The House draft of the annual defense budget reauthorization bill prominently lists open source software (OSS) among the objectives that should be considered in the procurement strategy for aerial vehicle technology and veteran health systems. If the bill passes in the House, it would be the first time that the National Defense Authorization Act explicitly expresses a preference for OSS.

OSS has seen rapid public sector uptake over the past few years. Governments around the world are streamlining their technological infrastructure and reducing their IT costs by using emerging open technologies. Adopters have reported a wide range of benefits, including greater interoperability, less dependence on any single vendor, more competitive pricing, and greater flexibility.

The benefits of OSS are even greater in a military setting, where open technologies could provide troops with a tangible strategic advantage. One vocal advocate of open source adoption in the military is deputy undersecretary of defense, Sue C. Payton, who helped author the Department of Defense’s Open Technology Development Roadmap in 2006. She argues that OSS could increase the agility of modern warfare by helping to accelerate deployment of new technologies that are essential to success on the front lines.

In a 2006 article for the journal of Military Information Technology, Payton characterized the proprietary software development model as a “broken” anachronism and argues that proprietary technologies are hindering efforts to modernize the US military. OSS would enable the military to reuse significant quantities of code across multiple applications and avoid reinventing the wheel for each new task, she says.

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