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Why government and citizens should care about open source software

Governments wanting to fulfill heightened information security requirements while solving many challenges we face may see open source software as an excellent solution, for the following reasons:

  • It's by the people AND for the people: Open source software platforms are created entirely by communities of people working to create, improve, and extend functionality. No one vendor controls the growth and development of the software, making room for grassroots innovation, community testing and bug-fixing, translation, and far greater extension of functionality. According to an August 2010 study by Accenture, 69% of organizations anticipate increased investment in open source software in 2010, with 38% expecting to migrate mission-critical software to open source in the next twelve months. Building a site with open source solutions means that there's a good chance that one of your constituents contributed to your web software.
  • Open Source encourages innovation: 10 years ago, most government agencies didn't have community commenting or multi-media functionality as part of their CMS requirements. Now, if they're locked into CMS solutions that don't offer it, they may not get it. If they were part of an open source solution, they could take that need to the open source community to find someone capable of developing it.
  • Less Waste: the open source community can see what's been and is being developed, so there's no reason to replicate code. Less replication = less waste.
  • Test Drives Come Standard: open source software is in the public domain: any government agency can download, test drive, and tinker in an open source CMS before signing a contract or choosing a provider.

Citizens should care about government using open source software for their web sites because citizens are paying for it. To make the best use of our tax money, citizens will have to demand that the government makes use of the open source opportunities available.

So how can I help?

To build on our passion for an open source CMS solution for governments, a government-focused distribution of Drupal called OpenPublic was developed; it is a successful open source framework and content management platform for government.

You can register for the Drupal Government Day and join the discussion about the future of the leading open source solution for governments.

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