Agencies open up to open-source software

The U.S. Postal Service is the latest government agency to embrace open-source software in an attempt to lower its information technology operating costs by standardizing its mainframe-based tracking system on the open-source — and less expensive — Linux operating system.

The Postal Service is moving 1,300 Sun Solaris midrange servers to a Hewlett-Packard Linux environment, using Novell’s SUSE Linux on the mainframe and distributed computing platforms to forge greater interoperability between the two environments. Although Solaris itself is open source, the Post Office calculated greater savings could be enjoyed moving to the Linux platform, in terms of less-costly applications that run on Linux.

More on this topic:

USPS goes open-source with tracking system

Other agencies that are using open-source software include:

  • The Homeland Security Department, which is funding a program that will help federal, state and local agencies better understand their options for using open-source software.
  • The Defense Information Systems Agency, which is planning to open source a suite of programs that it developed for administrative tasks. The agency has signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the Open Source Software Institute to help release the source code of the programs.
  • The Defense Department, which launched the Web site earlier this year for developers to work on open-source software projects specifically for DOD.
  • NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, which has established a Web site for open-source projects developed by center personnel for mission needs.

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