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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Reader Comments

Fri, Aug 28, 2009 Jeffrey Peel London

Readers of this post may be interested in a live-broadcast web event on the 22nd of October. The event will be broadcast live on the web from London. Government 2010 will focus on how this-generation information technology will transform next-generation government.

Keynote speakers include Peter Kellner (YouGov); Adam Afriyie MP (Shadow Minister, Innovation); Iain Dale (Political Blogger and Broadcaster); Tom Watson MP (Former Cabinet Office Minister)…and many, many others – including speakers with focuses on local and central government.

We have a limited number of speaker slots available in sessions ranging from Government Service Centres to Digital Inclusion to Open Data and Mashups.

Anyone can watch the event – completely free. Although pre-registration is required.

Wed, Jul 22, 2009

A major clarification for this story: Solaris is open source so USPS has been using Open Source for some time, it just picked another Open Source vendor. The story is not totally accurate.

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