23 July 2009 | Jake Kanter
The US government has been encouraged to prioritise open source software in IT procurement decisions following the launch of an industry lobby group.
The campaign, Open Source for America (OSA), brings together 70 technology firms, academic institutions and other related organisations to promote the use of open source software in government.
Open-source technology is developed and modified by communities of developers, rather than a single company, and is in the public domain. A well-known example is the web browser Firefox.
The group argue the software can provide an "open, transparent and cost-effective" option for government departments.
"Open source software can help deliver improved government service, plain and simple, and the [Obama] administration recognises this more than any other in our nation's history," said OSA spokesman David Thomas.
OSA includes companies such as Sun Microsystems and Oracle, as well as bodies such as the Open Source Institute.
In the UK the Conservative Party has consistently called for greater use of open source technology, estimating savings of £600 million could be achieved as a result (news, 14 March 2007).
Earlier this year cabinet minister Tom Watson said the software would be given equal consideration to proprietary technology such as Microsoft Windows.