Open-source committee will advise agencies for free

Agencies can now get free advice from the new Government Open Source Advisory Committee, which includes some of open-source software's most influential leaders.

Miguel de Icaza, for instance, heads up development of the Gnome desktop interface found in nearly all Linux distributions. Roy T. Fielding is a co-founder of the Apache Software Foundation, which developed the Web server freeware running on about 67 percent of Internet servers, according to estimates by Netcraft Ltd. of Bath, England.

'They basically agreed to be available to talk with agency program managers, guide them and answer whatever questions they may have,' said Tony Stanco, head of the Center of Open Source and Government and associate director of the Cyber Security Policy and Research Institute at George Washington University in Washington.

Stanco said commercial IT companies have representatives to consult with agencies, but the more informal open-source community has lacked readily identifiable individuals who can answer questions. The committee will answer that need, he said.

The advisers can discuss specific implementations of their own software or offer more general advice on large-scale projects, Stanco said. The committee primarily will provide free, high-level consulting, although members also might choose to offer paid consulting for more involved queries.

Stanco said the advisers were chosen for their pragmatism about the complex issues surrounding enterprise deployments.

The Center of Open Source and Government, a nonprofit think tank, hosts the committee, which was announced this week at an open-source conference in Washington cosponsored by the center and the General Services Administration.

A list of the team members appears online.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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