VA Releases Open Source Policy Memorandum 2015-06-07 by Roger A. Maduro in Open Health News is about the release of:
an executive policy memorandum that mandates a thorough evaluation of “Open Source Software (OSS) solutions when [the] VA acquires software.” The policy also calls for the Federal agency to consider the use of open source “development practices when VA develops software.”
Open source is not mandated nor even favored as a feature as far as I can tell, but this is a start. The reason I’m calling out here is one sentence:
During the Summit, VA’s CIO Stephen Warren gave a detailed presentation on the VA’s open source strategy during a half-day session that also included Red Hat’s CEO Jim Whitehurst.
My note on Red Hat as an “exemplar” of things to hopefully come:
Red Hat, the only for-profit organization on this list, is by far the largest nearly pure play commons-based production (open source) organization. If only as a result of selling to governments, they apparently have a “Global Public Policy” department, though little information about it is on the web. Speculation: If there were even larger businesses with a competitive advantage in delivering commons-based solutions, at some point it would be in their interest to use public policy to exclude proprietary competition, completely turning the tables on procurement policy, and sealing the proprietary gravestone with product regulation.
Related: Proprietary software imperils local government. Open source-mandating, -favoring, or even as above -including policy can help, but to really break the proprietary stronghold over “enterprise” applications for government, big vendor (such as Red Hat) involvement is probably needed.