[URL=http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080910-how-the-dod-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-open-source.html]How the DoD learned to stop worrying and love open source
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.
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.
"Unfortunately, this kind of technological responsiveness and agility is all but impossible today, because much of the Department of Defense's software, which is central to its operations, is bound up in proprietary systems. These 'black boxes' cannot be accessed or modified by anyone but the original vendor, even though DoD nominally has rights to millions of lines of code that have cost billions of dollars to develop," she wrote in 2006. "To wage information-age warfare, we need business processes that allow us to evolve faster than our adversaries. The problem is that DoD software is acquired with the same industrial-age business processes used to acquire ships, tanks and other physical machinery." [/URL]
Norwegian standards body implodes over OOXML controversy
Standards Norway, the organization that manages technical standards for the Scandinavian country, took a serious blow last week when key members resigned in protest over procedural irregularities in the approval process for Microsoft's Office Open XML (OOXML) format. The 23-person technical committee has lost 13 of its members.
The standardization process for Microsoft's office format has been plagued with controversy.
A look back at the open source victories of 2008
The past year brought some exciting advancements for the Linux operating system and open source software. Open technology continues to become more pervasive and the Linux kernel is now widely used in a multitude of mainstream products ranging from set-top boxes to mobile phones. With 2008 coming to a close, we wanted to take a minute to look at some events of significance to the open source software community.
An odd choice to help government with open source strategy
In an effort to reduce rising government IT costs, the Obama administration could turn to open source software. Sun cofounder and former CEO Scott McNealy says that the Obama administration has asked him to prepare a paper that will address this topic and provide guidance on potential open source adoption strategies.
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