The appeal of open source solutions to government agencies around the world is not surprising as these solutions can address concerns which had prevented governments from reaping the full benefits of cloud, including security, governance and data transparency. The number of countries actively using open source solutions in their infrastructure is a testament to how it is an appropriate model for IT systems in the public sector.
The United Nations recognized Estonia for having ‘Best of the Best’ e-government applications when they chose to use open source for many of their national projects (2. Melaka State Government in Malaysia also chose open source solutions when it embarked on a journey to consolidate its IT assets and prepare its data centers for the cloud. Similar initiatives have also been announced by the governments of Australia, Germany and the United States.
Despite these adoptions, there are still government agencies unfamiliar with open source. They often have the common misconception they are required to commit to a vendor and that platform changes require a change to the entire stack of existing software investments.
These government agencies need to realize an open source environment enables them to switch vendors without changing the underlying technology, and make improvements to their technologies more easily to better serve their citizens. It even enables them to move more quickly and innovate faster with fewer constraints from budget or vendor choices. Open source is one of the best platforms to enable governments not only to maximize taxpayers’ dollars, but also maintain agility and continue introducing innovative e-services to the public while maintaining high levels of accountability.
There is no reason why public sector organizations should not be as progressive and make open source the default, rather than an alternative to their IT infrastructures.
Government agencies have the responsibility of helping citizens and businesses live and work easier, and open source technologies help to do just that. Forward-looking organizations worldwide have already embraced open source and shifted the conversation from confirming the security of open source software to exploring how to get the maximum value out of their open source investments. There is no reason why public sector organizations should not be as progressive and make open source the default, rather than an alternative to their IT infrastructures.
This is an open source blog that aims to engage proponents and dissenters alike. Do you agree or disagree with the comments? Please share your opinions.