Government agencies turning to OSS for greater flexibility

As government agencies around the world strive to improve their IT service management, data center management and other business processes, new technological tools and strategies are becoming increasingly appealing and widespread.

One of the most significant developments in this area is the rise of open source solutions. IT teams throughout the government now regularly turn to these resources for a wide range of applications. While cost savings is undoubtedly among the most powerful factors driving this trend, Government Computing recently reported that the inflexibility of proprietary software contracts is another major reason.

Inflexibility issues
The source reported that proprietary software providers typically impose fairly restrictive contracts, and that the rigidity of these demands is pushing more agencies in the public sector to turn to open source options.

By its nature, open source software enables a greater degree of control to users. This level of customization is critical for IT professionals eager to innovate and experiment without artificially imposed restrictions.

According to Government Computing, this trend is likely to accelerate, as more agencies realize that open source provides opportunities and potential denied to them by proprietary software offerings.

This sentiment was recently supported by industry expert David Wheeler in a conversation with Opensource.com. Wheeler, an open source software expert, emphasized that the rise in use of these solutions among government bodies is among the most significant developments in recent years. From the White House to NASA to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Wheeler argued that open source software now plays a key role in many government agencies and departments, with more turning to this technology regularly.

Cost considerations
Government Computing noted that most discussions surrounding the issue of open source versus proprietary software benefits concern cost savings. The source pointed out that many open source advocates make the straightforward case that adopting these solutions will lead directly to reduced expenditures, which is obviously appealing for private and public sector organizations alike.

However, according to Government Computing, this reasoning may be misguided. While open source software can undoubtedly deliver equal or better service at lower costs, this is only the case when the tools are leveraged effectively. There are a number of costs associated with open source, including training and cloud integration, that firms must take into account when determining actual savings potential.

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