Obama Administration Considering Open Source in Government, McNealy Says


Open source technology makes a more secure government, says Scott McNealy. According to BBC News, the Sun Microsystems co-founder is preparing a paper on the subject at the request of the Obama administration.


"It's intuitively obvious open source is more cost effective and productive than proprietary software," he told the BBC. In fact, he's even suggesting that the U.S. go so far as to follow Vietnam's lead and mandate open source. "The government ought to mandate open source products based on open source reference implementations to improve security, get higher quality software, lower costs, higher reliability," he said.


President Obama has promised an open and transparent government, so it makes sense that open source technology could be a part of his strategy -- especially given that several different agencies already use open source to some extent. And open source could also save the government a lot of money, which is something else Obama has promised -- to go through the budget line by line.


Other open source leaders agree with McNealy. Open Source Initiative president Michael Tiemann told the BBC, "It's an accident of history that proprietary standards became so entrenched so early and it's been a colossal expense for government." He estimates technology costs to the U.S. at "$400 billion and upwards."


Just as in so many other areas, though, we'll have to wait and see just how the new administration will carry out its promises.