It seems everywhere you look open source is being adopted, pushed and feted by the governments of the world. Whether it be the US Federal Government using open source in their cloud strategy and other places or the government of Jordan seeking to become the open source of hub of the Mideast or even the State of California coming out in support of open source, governments around the world are jumping on the open source bandwagon.
Why the interest in open source? Well first of all this is not a new phenomenon. The government sector has been a big open source supporter for a long time. Many open source projects were in fact started by people who were on government payrolls at the time they started their open source projects. But the reason for the sudden rush to open source goes deeper than that. One obvious answer is cost. Yes, let’s all repeat after me, open source is free. Well nothing in life is free. I think the government has learned that lesson as well as anyone. The real reason for open source adoption is time to completion. Using open source tools government developers can speed time to completion of many of their projects. The open source software and tools give them the flexibility they need to conform to government particular needs, as well as not running afoul of complicated commercial licensing issues (as if GPL 3.0 is not complicated, but that is for a later blog).
There is another issue at play here though. As governments adopt open source strategies, what message are they sending to the traditional software companies? By adopting Linux as a preferred OS what are they saying to Microsoft? By using MySQL what are they saying to Oracle? Wait a second, Oracle owns MySQL now don’t they? Isn’t Microsoft even cozying up to open source? So it seems governments aren’t the only ones adopting open source.
Hey if it’s good enough for Microsoft and Oracle, why shouldn’t it be good enough for the government? At the end of the day, it may just be an open source world after all. Well I don’t know if I would go that far yet, but the government sector is certainly on to something.
As co-founder and Managing Partner at The CISO Group, Alan Shimel is responsible for driving the vision and mission of the company. The CISO Group offers security consulting and PCI compliance management for the payment card industry. Prior to The CISO Group, Alan was the Chief Strategy Officer at StillSecure. Shimel was the public persona of StillSecure as it grew from start up to helping defend some of the largest and most sensitive networks in the world.
Shimel is an often-cited personality in the technology community and is a sought-after speaker at industry and government conferences and events. His commentary about the state of security, open source and life is followed closely by many industry insiders via his blog and podcast, "Ashimmy, After All These Years" (www.ashimmy.com). Alan is now also a regular contributor to The CISO Group’s security.exe blog and podcast. Follow him on Google.
Alan has helped build several successful technology companies by combining a strong business background with a deep knowledge of technology. His legal background, long experience in the field, and New York street smarts combine to form a unique personality.
Disclosure: The CISO Group sells a software-as-a-service PCI compliance application called SAQPro. The company is independent and does not represent any other vendor's products as a reseller.
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