Financial Technology

Financial Technology

July 23, 2010

Open Source For America' Celebrates First Anniversary, Announces Year Long Achievements

Open Source (News - Alert) for America (OSFA) an organization of technology industry leaders, non-government associations and academic and research institutions that aims at boosting the use of open source software in the U.S. Federal government, has announced that as the organization is going to celebrate its first anniversary, it has already achieved a number of feats within the first year of its establishment.

The organization has announced Inaugural Open Source Awards Program, and has also sponsored an openness study for assigning letter-grade to Cabinet-level agencies. While being launched around a year back, OFSA included 70 founding members while now the number of its members has exceeded 1,700 organizations and individuals.

For measuring openness within government, the organization sponsored a study that will be released in the third quarter of the current year. Results of the study will take the shape of a report card that will assign a letter-grade to Cabinet-level agencies based on public transparency, participation and collaboration. The study will examine various factors relating to access and transparency; such as Freedom of Information Act processes, public access to agency documents, use of online public participation tools and technology procurement procedures.

During its first year, OFSA has also formed targeted working groups by subject area, which will be helpful in spreading awareness about the advantages of using free and open source software within the U.S. federal government.

OFSA had been formed in July 2009, and the U.S. federal government has made several vital announcements after its establishment that hint about the momentum building towards the adoption and usage of open source technologies. In one of these announcements, the Deputy CIO for the Department of Defense issued a memo in October 2009, which stated that open source software should be considered alongside other software options in the procurement process, and referencing publicly-auditable code, unrestricted modification, licensing costs, and freedom from vendor reliance as benefits unique to open source. In the same month, the White House announced the migration of to an open source platform for achieving enhanced security levels and also enabling a wider public input. Additionally, President Obama issued the Open Government Directive in December 2009, which addressed the head of every federal department and agency to initiate pro-active actions to open their operations to the public.

According to Michael Tiemann, vice president, Open Source Affairs at Red Hat (News - Alert) and Member, Board of Advisors at OSFA, it's encouraging to see the many advancements made by the U.S. federal government over the past year to create a more open and transparent government. Tiemann noted that open source and open government share many of the same principles, and OSFA has made great strides, in a short time period, to educate government leaders on the power of participation, collaboration and transparency within the open source software development model, and how government can benefit from its use.

Raja Singh Chaudhary is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Raja's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Erin Monda

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