When the new administration at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW boasted transparency, they weren't necessarily talking about open source. But some people, a group called Open Source for America for instance, thinks that government agencies should at least consider open source software as an option in their buying decisions.
Considering that the U.S. government might be out to save a few bucks, OSA's claim that open source applications can help save the government money might just hold some water. Afterall, open source is change we can all believe in. It needn't be limited to health care and economic stimulus.
To be sure that their message isn't lost, OSA has secured backing from Tim O'Reilly, Founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media, William Vass, President and COO of Sun Microsystems, and Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of Linux Foundation, all of whom are just some of the members of the organization's Board of Advisors.
As well, you won't be surprised to learn of OSA's founding members, a list that reads like an issue of ours truly: Google, Alfresco, Acquia, Novell, Sunlight Labs, Knowledge Tree, EFF, Mozilla and Red Hat, among many others.
Open Source Education
Open Source for America's demands aren't even that demanding. They just want to educate decision makers in the U.S. Federal government about the advantages of using free and open source software, as well as to encourage Federal agencies to give equal priority to procuring free and open source software in all of their procurement decisions.
There are no mandates or regulatory standards, just confidence that once the powers that be learn more about open source software, there will be little reservations about implementing it throughout the Federal government.
However, OSA should spend more of their time with lobbyists, who actually have more of a stake in Washington policies. Those who work on behalf of proprietary software companies may not be eager to relinquish their power to the likes of open source, which is free and not very capitalist.
Regardless, it will be a fun campaign to watch. Want to get involved? Become a foot soldier in Open Source for America's March on Washington.