Government entities around the world are not only increasing their use of free and open source software, they are actually sharing, collaborating and coordinating in open source fashion to meet federal, state and local government IT needs, recent data suggests.
IDCs government IT research company Government Insights predicts open source software will gain momentum faster in the government sector than in any other market segment over the next five to ten years, earning a 30 percent compound annual growth rate through 2009.
"Its not a totally new trend because there has always been sharing of programs and components at some level, but interest seems to be picking up substantially," Shawn McCarthy, head of vendor programs for Government Insights, told LinuxInsider.
Open source use among government entities is likely to become as aggressive as many IT departments" adoption of Linux was in its early days, when the operating system first stormed the server market in the mid-1990s.
McCarthy explained: "Government has a unique opportunity to lead the way for three reasons: first, cooperation between state governments can help them build software solutions that can be shared by multiple states; second, there is pressure on states to reduce costs, improve service to citizens, and standardize operations, and developing open software platforms is a way to do this; and third, large IT services companies have shown they are willing to invest their own money in certain open solutions so that they can influence the standard and assure that they have powerful, open products which can be used when they sell their services and solutions to the government."
Though vendor response to open technology demand in government has been strong, McCarthy stressed the need for improved systems stability in order to ensure that government bodies will indeed benefit from open source savings.
News source: Tech News World