Open source projects face challenges but dominate Federal netscape

A study released today shows just how open source projects have come to dominate the Federal network world.  The Federal study found that 55% of all respondents were involved in an open source project with  the Department of Defense having the largest community with 64% of respondents involved in a an open source implementation.  That’s compared to 57% of intelligence agencies and 51% of federal/civilian agencies. 

The study, conducted by the Federal Open Source Alliance, a largely open source marketing organization formed last year by Intel, HP and Red Hat included 218 responses from a range of federal agencies: 64% were federal/civilian agencies, 24% were from the DoD and 11% were from intelligence departments.

From the study, 65% Federal intelligence agencies say they will implement an open source project in next six to 12 months.  The DoD is second with 26% and federal/civilian agencies say 25% have it in their plans.

The study did find that while open source projects were coming into their own, many challenges are afoot.  For example, those agencies who have implemented an open source project, the greatest challenges are:

·          34% security issues

·          30%  concerns that proprietary applications won’t work/port to open source

·          27% lack of trust of open source vendors

·          25% lack of consistent established standards 

For those agencies who have not implemented open source, the greatest challenges are:

·          42% Organization reluctance to change from status quo

·          40% Security

·          28%  Lack of consistent standards

·          26%  Lack of tech support

·          25%  Lack of open source knowledge on site

·          20%  Lack of senior management support 

For those agencies who have implemented open source, the top benefits have been:

·          30% Ability to access advanced and multi-leveled security capabilities

·          17% Data center consolidation

·          17% Ability to customize applications

·          12% Ability to enable cross –system, cross-agency applications and process sharing

·          9%  Cost savings from application and operating system software 

The Federal survey follows on a similar survey done earlier this summer by the National Association of State CIOs which took a wide ranging measure of state data center consolidation activities and found many are now including server virtualization and open source as common uniting technologies.  Virtualization is a growing data center technology that is capturing the attention of IT for its consolidation and cost saving potential.  The combination with open source and Linux platforms offer an inexpensive way to continue the widespread adoption of Linux in the data center.

Federal agencies aren’t the only ones looking at advanced open source projects. For a look at six really cool implementations look here.   

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