Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Open Source for America: Good for the U.S., Good for the Globe

[This post is a brief detour in the middle of my four-part series on next-generation web application design and is timed for today’s OSA announcement. I will resume the series with my next post.]

Building a more efficient government is everyone’s job.

This week, a broad and diverse coalition of technology industry leaders, academic institutions, associations and communities are coming together to form a unified voice that will promote and amplify the use of open source software within the U.S. Federal Government. Called Open Source for America, Jaspersoft is very pleased to be part of this coalition and I believe its existence is important for at least three reasons.

1. Helping the U.S. Federal Government to be more efficient makes sense for every citizen. Promoting the use of open source software as a means to do so is a no-brainer.

2. Many of the standards and methods put forth by the U.S. Federal Government influence the technology adoption plans in private enterprise. With its incredibly broad footprint and profile, the U.S. Government will be helping a big section of nearby industries adopt open source and become more efficient (as a result) as well.

3. More aggressive adoption and use of open source software will place the U.S. Government on par with the governments of other leading nations in its drive to use open source software for the benefit of its citizens. Taking a leadership position on this world stage is important for the United States, where much of the world’s open source software is collaboratively developed.

Each quarter, more of Jaspersoft’s community and commercial success is coming from the U.S. Federal Government. We’ve talked publicly about our work with NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the various branches of the Department of Defense, and the National Institute of Health. These diverse organizations have found remarkably common reasons to choose open source business intelligence from Jaspersoft: our modern and flexible architecture, lowest possible cost of ownership and a substantial community on which they can rely for constant interaction. These are the same substantial advantages that every Government organization should be taking advantage of. And, as a taxpayer, I would say the sooner the better.

I’ve energetically endorsed an open source technology agenda during the course of the Presidential campaign and was among the first signatures on the Open Source “open letter” to President Obama shortly after he was sworn in, promoting that document in this blog and elsewhere. Open Source for America represents the next logical step forward in helping our Government demonstrate some of the most storied and valuable principles of open source: transparency and collaboration. Let us hear about your support for this coalition by following the OSA on Twitter and sending an email to me at bgentile@jaspersoft.com with your ideas for how the U.S. Government should use open source software to better build our democracy.

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