States Consider Open Source, but Do They Switch?

Lora Bentley

I've already written about open source software being at least part of the answer to voting machine glitches. But is it the answer to government IT infrastructure? According to Tech News World, some states think it's at least worth looking into. After all, open source software is free, and there are open source equivalents to most available business software, writer Walt Williams points out.


California and Oregon have investigated open source for their agencies. Wisconsin and West Virginia, too. But the latter's CTO told Tech News World that West Virginia hasn't done much with open source because the drawbacks outweigh the benefits. You get what you pay for, the reasoning goes.


One example, according to the National Association of State Chief Information Officers, comes from Wisconsin. State officials decided against switching to open source office productivity tools because training employees to use them would be too costly. They were also of the opinion that the open source tools "didn't work as well" as the Microsoft ones.


Though several states have used open source for specific projects to save money, none have made the wholesale switch to open source as yet. I would imagine, however, that some might change their minds given the current economy.

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