Tom Watson, MP, Minister for Digital Engagement
Open Source has been one of the most significant cultural developments in IT and beyond over the last two decades: it has shown that individuals, working together over the Internet, can create products that rival and sometimes beat those of giant corporations; it has shown how giant corporations themselves, and Governments, can become more innovative, more agile and more cost-effective by building on the fruits of community work; and from its IT base the Open Source movement has given leadership to new thinking about intellectual property rights and the availability of information for re–use by others.
This Government has long had the policy, last formally articulated in 2004, that it should seek to use Open Source where it gave the best value for money to the taxpayer in delivering public services. While we have always respected the long-held beliefs of those who think that governments should favour Open Source on principle, we have always taken the view that the main test should be what is best value for the taxpayer.
The U.S. government could save billions of dollars by moving to more open-source software, cloud computing and virtualization, a recent study suggests.
Over three years, the potential savings would be US$3.7 billion for using open-source software; $13.3 billion for using virtualization technologies; and $6.6 billion from cloud computing or software-as-a-service, the study said. It was published by MeriTalk, an online community about IT and public policy; Red Hat, an open-source software vendor; and DLT Solutions, a value-added reseller of Red Hat and other IT products.
“After years of boosted funding, federal IT managers are facing a new challenge — the budget crunch,” the study says. “With a grave economic outlook and a new administration in office, federal agencies will be forced to do more with less.”
Paul Jones runs ibiblio at the UNC-Chapel Hill.
In the digital realm, Paul Jones is a rock star. He invented ibiblio, a contributor-run, digital library of public domain and creative commons media in the Office of Information Technology Service at UNC-Chapel Hill. He is a clinical associate professor at UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications and a clinical associate professor in the School of Information and Library Science. And, he’s the guy who put Roger McGuinn’s catalog online. He also writes poetry and knows his Tar Heel history. Today host Frank Stasio meets the real Paul Jones.
Backers of open-source software asked President Barack Obama to make it mandatory for federal agencies to consider how applications purchased by the government are developed. The request came in a letter from the Collaborative Software Initiative and others sent to Obama today.
“We urge you to make it mandatory to consider the source of an application solution (open or closed) as part of the government’s technology acquisition process, just as considering accessibility by the handicapped is required today,” the letter stated
The letter said the open and collaborative way that open-source software is developed mirrors Obama’s goals of government transparency and openness. Collaborative Software Initiative Senior Developer David Christiansen and Chief Executive Officer Stuart Cohen, along with 14 CEOs of software development companies, signed the letter.
Red Hat and Microsoft Expand Server Virtualization Interoperability.
In response to strong customer demand, Red Hat and Microsoft have signed reciprocal agreements to enable increased interoperability for the companies’ virtualization platforms. Each company will join the other’s virtualization validation/certification program and will provide technical support for their mutual server virtualization customers.
Key components of the agreement:
- Red Hat will validate Windows Server 2003 SP2, Windows 2000 Server SP42, and Windows Server 2008 guests on Red Hat Enterprise virtualization technologies.
- Microsoft will validate Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2 and 5.3 guests on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V (all editions) and Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008.
Once each company completes testing, customers with valid support agreements will receive cooperative technical support for:
- Running Windows Server operating system virtualized on Red Hat Enterprise virtualization, and
- Running Red Hat Enterprise Linux virtualized on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V.
- Future versions of products from both companies are also planned to be validated under these agreements.
- The agreements contain no patent or open source licensing components.
- The agreements contain no financial clauses, other than industry-standard certification/validation testing fees.
This seems cool. “A code editor that lives in the cloud…”
Software maker Mozilla has launched a prototype of its new web-based XHTML code editor. It’s called Bespin, and it’s still in the demo stage, but the app is live and you can test it out right now.
The logo pretty much says it all — it’s a code editor that lives in the cloud. It definitely fills a need seeing how many web developers and programmers are working in co-ops or coffee shops, or collaborating with others from a home office.
You get all of the advantages of a webapp — a synchronized work environment, real-time collaboration tools and access to your files from anywhere — without the pains of other web-based writing tools. For example, the most popular web-based editors like Google Docs and Zoho Writer don’t handle code well at all. They’re mostly for writing regular old text docs. Bespin gives you coder must-haves like syntax highlighting and line numbering. The team plans to add emulation modes for vi and emacs (for the die hards out there).
From an essay by Jim Whitehurst for Educause.
Open source is now recognized in institutions of higher education as a viable technology solution that provides superior value at a fraction of the cost of proprietary applications. That’s a good thing—but that’s not all it can do. Open source can be a transformative force in education. In particular, it can transform computer science curricula. Academic institutions that are consumers of open source need to reverse roles and shift gears to “preach what they practice” and place higher emphasis on integrating open source into the classroom.
Open source is an increasingly important skill set that many of today’s computer science graduates are lacking. This is not because students aren’t interested in open source, but because very few colleges and universities currently offer open-source classes. In addition to eager students, there are many professors who are very interested in teaching open source in their classrooms and labs.
From Meritalk, an online community for government/tech workers. You can download the pdf here.
The new administration is redefining IT’s role in developing a 21st-century government – from agency investments and management agendas to healthcare, public safety, and energy policy initiatives. While the promise for IT to drive change is exciting, the budget reality is brutal. With no new funds, IT needs to generate its own funding by changing the economics of existing programs.
Against this backdrop, The DIY Federal IT Bailout Report examines the real savings that three computing paradigms can offer – Open Source, Virtualization, and Cloud Computing/SaaS implementations. The report highlights the hard “dollar, nickel, and cent” potential savings that agencies and the entire Federal government can realize by utilizing these models.