Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act opens the door for 'Open Source'

Matthew Weigelt | FCW | December 4, 2012

...For several months, Issa has circulated a draft bill on IT commodity purchasing reforms called the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act. The final provision of the bill would open the door wider for open source software on a governmentwide basis. It would promote the use of open source software, even clarifying that agencies should include open source software in its preferences when buying commercial IT. Connolly is also backing the bill and has said he will co-sponsor it when Issa introduces it next year.

The benefits of open source would become especially dramatic if the government sees itself as one organization rather than a coalition of departments, agencies and bureaus, Issa said. “Once you define us as [one organization], what we’re really saying is that we can share,” he said.

In addition, Connolly said the open source software can save resources in the era of shrinking resources. “What the draft bill is ultimately getting at is saving taxpayers money and making government more efficient,” he said. “We have 24 different price structures for the same item,” creating unnecessary layers of duplication, he said...

Open Health News' Take: 

Kudos to the bipartisan effort by Congress to pass the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act.The need to reform IT acquisition policies was one of the key issues raised at the Open Source Electronic Health Record Agen (OSEHRA) Summit that was held last month in Washington D.C. Existing policies are not neutral and tend to discourage efforts to acquire and implement high quality, low cost 'open source' solutions across the federal government.  - Peter Groen, Senior Editor, OHNews