Brian Purchia of Burson-Marsteller has a post here on GovFresh about the value of open source to unions. His argument pivots on cost-savings. I think you could make a more expansive argument that includes risk mitigation and innovation, but describing the advantage to unions is an interesting angle I hadnâ€™t seen before.
I noticed that Brian repeated the misunderstanding that San Francisco had the nationâ€™s first open source policy. I donâ€™t want to diminish his larger argument, but itâ€™s important that we give credit where creditâ€™s due. So for the record:
- July 1, 2004: OMB issues OMB-04-16, making clear that open source can be used in the Federal Government
- October 16, 2009: The US Department of Defense CIO issues a memo reiterating that open source software is commercial software for procurement purposes, and encouraging DOD branches to include open source when theyâ€™re picking software.
- September 30 2009:Â Portland, OR is the first city to issue an open source policy.
- January 7, 2010: Californiaâ€˜s open source policy is published.
- February 1, 2010:Â San Francisco, CA issues their open source policy.
These are just what I could find, of course. If you know of others, let me know!Â If youâ€™d like to see a comprehensive history of open source battles in national and state governments around the world, CSIS maintains an annual survey intuitively titled â€œGovernment Open Source Policiesâ€œ. Even just skimming it, youâ€™ll be surprised at how little progress the United States has made in open source policymaking.