Historically, government agencies have shied away from using open source technology and implementations in their IT portfolio. While their caution at integrating open source tools into the agency IT portfolio was driven by prudent concerns about security and the potential costs that could accrue if code was malicious or full of bugs, there seems to have been a perspective shift of late, as more CIOs begin to consider using open source technologies in their IT operations. Fear, uncertainty, and doubt, are, in small ways, being replaced by an interest in the benefits that open source options bring to the table.
In part, this change comes down to looking for ways to contain costs, but it is due, in large part to a rapidly maturing open source culture. Where once open source technologies were on the fringe, they are now integrating into the mainstream through acquisition by enterprises. While technology purists may oppose acquisitions, when handled well, they equip the open source community with the tools and investments most just dream of.
A strong example of this is Oracle’s acquisition of MySQL. While many feared that the acquisition would see the smaller tech operation get buried, the opposite has happened – investment has increased and support for the MySQL has been robust. In effect, MySQL has been able to leverage Oracle infrastructure in terms of development and support to bring about faster integration of inputs from the open source community into to the product development lifecycle.
Seeing the benefits of this blended model, government CIOs have recently been showing more interest in leveraging open source technology. Those that have yet to explore the benefits of the 21st Century open source tech community should take a closer look. Why not start with this video from Open World 2014, which explains the benefits of open source technology with enterprise backing.