Monday, November 3, 2008

Open Source Advice for the next President of the United States - Part II

[This post continues from the one above]

Invest in the Future. America is a nation of builders and innovators. The strength of the economy and the very psyche of the country are founded on innovation. But, you surely know that the number of U.S. college graduates focused on science and math have been declining for two decades. As we approach 2010, the U.S.’s distinction as a top generator of the world’s best engineers, scientists, and mathematicians is clearly threatened. To maintain the country’s storied reputation, re-institute the government-sponsored scholarship and grants process so that more students will continue on with their education and choose technical subjects as their field. Also, re-enable private student loans and corporate tax credits (with special incentives), especially for those students focused on continuing education in the technical fields. It may take another decade to really pay-off, but there are no more beneficial long-term programs that will fuel America’s future.
Demand better technology in Government. The U.S. Federal Government, by and large, is known for spending more and getting less from technology than practically any other organization. This is despite a byzantine set of spending and procurement policies and rules which were ironically designed to do the opposite. Here, I can offer one incredibly useful tip: require that all U.S. government organizations consider open source software alternatives wherever they exist. Some European governments have been doing so for several years and are already reaping tremendous cost and technology advantages as a result. If you need any specific advice about open source business intelligence software, there is a community of technology innovators pushing the envelope and I, as well as many others, would be happy to share our knowledge.
I am sure that your first few months in office will be grueling. As you take the helm of the largest economy and most influential country in the world, remember there is good news and bad news. The good news is that the conflict and war in Iraq seem to be improving, which should give you more time to focus on the advice I’m providing here. The bad news is that if the good news is Iraq, you’ve got a tough road ahead of you. I wish you good luck. And, God bless America.
Brian Gentile
Chief Executive Officer

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