U.S. Postal Service Gives Stamp of Approval To FOSS

by Ostatic Staff - Jul. 10, 2009

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has switched 1,300 of the servers that manage its package tracking system to a Linux environment. The move has taken the better part of a year since all the original system code was written in Cobol and had to be converted for Linux -- a less expensive option than rewriting it altogether.

The migration is a part of a larger plan to standardize on open source software to lower operating costs and increase the number of transactions the system can handle. The USPS currently manages over 40 million transactions every day, from tracking priority mail to shipping packages for customers at local post offices.

Though the USPS won't discuss exact figures on how the cost savings of moving from a Sun Solaris environment to Hewlett-Packard, it's clearly substantial. Postal Service representative John Byrne told Government Computer News, “We’re achieving significant savings moving from the Sun to the HP environment — obviously not as materially as the IBM proprietary environment to Linux because the mainframe has had the higher cost to begin with and farther to fall.”

In today's sagging economy and economic downturn, its good to see the U.S. Government tightening its belt and cutting costs by using open source software to help curb spending. Although there are opposing viewpoints on the use of open source in government, FOSS is making significant headway and may be on the road to winning the race.