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Open source infiltrates government IT worldwide

Jim Romeo | Jan. 4, 2008
Linux and Open Source solutions are growing. The growth is not just within commercial enterprises.

LinuxWorld: One area that has gained importance is bringing a Linux based system into a local government to communicate with Homeland Security's requirements and other emergency crisis software. Is this likely to be a leg up for Linux? Can you comment on local security needs being in sync with Federal security policy and program?

John Weathersby: Federal adoption of open source definitely has a positive trickle-down effect for state and local government entities. What I've seen is that local government entities have a lot of the same basic concerns regarding security as their federal cousins. Security is: a) not something that will take care of itself or happens automatically; b) requires smart planning and wise use of limited resources; c) usually comes down to protecting data regarding individuals - whether that be information on people you're trying to protect or people you're trying to find. Open Source is playing an important role in all these areas.

Remember though, that Open Source is much larger than just the Linux operating system. Open Source is widely used in areas of encryption, web services, data storage and management, everything...even satellite information gathering and processing. Open Source is everywhere within the government and security systems.

LinuxWorld: What do Open Source developers need to know about Linux and Open Source being adopted by more governments worldwide and its effect on adoption by U.S. Governments?

John Weathersby: The primary government vendors are now starting to really ramp up their open source product, service and support offerings to their government clients. Working with the government, at any level, and specifically with DoD, is a bit different from working with regular businesses. That is a completely different interview there...

But general, independent open source developers, are doing a bigger and better job than anyone could have ever imagined and my advice is to keep on doing what you're doing. Open source is now an integrated part of both commercial and government systems and it is only going to grow in again, keep on keeping on. We will all get there together.


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