OMB wants lawyers in on software buys

As if life weren't complicated enough, the Office of Management and Budget has reminded agencies to consult with their legal counsel before buying software.

In a memo to CIOs and senior procurement executives, Karen Evans, OMB IT and e-government administrator, and Robert Burton, acting administrator in the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, said agencies must understand software licensing requirements before purchasing because requirements can be 'legally complex and can directly impact agency operations.'

OMB specifically mentioned open-source software that is 'licensed with certain common restrictions, which generally differ from proprietary software.' The differences include security, total cost of ownership and the effect of the software's use. OMB said these differences 'must be considered in a software acquisition.'

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