Not even 10 years ago, if you brought up some open source solutions in a sales pitch to the government you wouldn’t be taken seriously. No one really considered open source software as a viable solution and didn’t want to risk their enterprise on picking a solution that they thought were supported by a bunch of “amatuer developers”. After all, why would a solid developer write the code for free instead of charging for it and why would any serious company invest capital into writing code that they would then give away for free?
However, 10 years ago, open source software was not what it is today. The general impression back then that if you really wanted to deploy a production level application on an open source solution you would need an army of developers to massage the open source code into what you need and then after the initial push, you would still need to maintain them for the lifespan of the application for support, upgrades and general enhancements.
In fact, clients were so afraid of custom development that a big part of general sales pitches was that specific customization items were configuration and not customization (which implied custom development).
As I look at open source landscape today; things are much different. Large corporations are investing money into open source projects, several Venture Capitalists are backing companies that are releasing cool software under Apache License 2 and software development has become much more mainstream which is easing the scariness of it.
Government organizations like GSA’s 18F and USDS are embracing open source technology, code reuse and custom solutions to meet demands of a new more modern government at a fraction of the cost that the government would have typically paid.
And if that wasn’t good enough, the Obama administration is planning to make all code developed with funding from taxpayers open within the government and partially open to the public. For more info check out:
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