FOSS Execs Send Open Letter to Obama

by Ostatic Staff - Feb. 10, 2009

Executives representing several open source software companies collaborated on an open letter to President Barack Obama in the hopes of moving open source solutions to the top of the list of ways to implement parts of his national economic stimulus plan. The letter asks Obama to make FOSS a "key component" of all new technology initiatives implemented during his administration.

Of course, that's a tall order. Under Obama's new plan, everything from digitized medical records and nationwide high-speed Internet access to improved classroom technology stands to benefit in some way. Stuart Cohen, CEO of Collaborative Software Initiative, is confident that this letter is the first step toward helping determine which initiatives should get attention first.

"We're all looking forward to meeting with the appointed CTO and his or her team to help nail down these priorities," says Cohen. "What's more important today is to make sure that collaboration is the fuel for developing and delivering these new technologies. Collaborative development and community sourcing result in lower cost products, higher quality and code and the transparency we all expect."

As a way to underscore how open source is already being successfully used to address specific needs within the government, the authors point to TriSano, the open source surveillance system recently deployed statewide in Utah to monitor for infectious disease and bioterrorism attacks.

Cohen says the project demonstrates just how effective open source solutions can be. "TriSano is the result of collaboration among state epidemiologists, local health departments, and software developers, proving that local and state governments can work together to produce high quality software products. TriSano is still in its infancy, but we believe it will be looked upon as an example of how this is done."

Cohen says he and the other executives that crafted the letter think it's a great way to open the door to future dialogue with the Obama administration and whomever is eventually he names CTO. "We look forward to talking in more detail with him or her when they are appointed, and believe this letter starts the right conversation.

In the true spirit of open source, the letter is available online in its entirety for the community to sign and leave comments of their own.