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open source greenlighted for house

House gets green light for open source

The House of Representatives has officially jumped on the open source bandwagon. A June 25 announcement declared that U.S. representatives, committees and staff would be able to procure open source software, participate in open source software communities and contribute code developed with taxpayer dollars to open source repositories.

Uncertainty had hung over the question of whether open source software, communications and code contributions were permitted within Congress because of restrictions relating to soliciting gifts.  It has now been determined that — in general —members and staff in the House, when conducting official business, have a choice between using proprietary technology and open source solutions, according to the joint announcement by the OpenGov Foundation, the Sunlight Foundation and the Congressional Data Coalition.

Within Congress, support for open source software has been growing.  In the next few weeks, Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) plan to launch a House Open Source Caucus. 

“We now have clear guidance on the use of open source software in the House of Representatives,” said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).  Members of Congress and the open source community can work collaboratively to improve online access to the Congress and bring the institution more in line with other flexible, modern organizations that use open source solutions to realize cost-savings and greater efficiency.”

In October 2014, the OpenGov Foundation, Sunlight Foundation and Congressional Data Coalition jointly called for rules changes that would permit the use and publication of open source software by House offices. 

Posted by GCN Staff on Jun 29, 2015 at 12:52 PM


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