"Three weeks ago, John P. Stenbit, chief information officer of
the U.S. Department of Defense, issued an agencywide memo that has
Linux lovers rejoicing. The brief outlined the DOD's policy on
acquiring, using and developing open-source software, including the
Linux operating system. By creating an official policy, the DOD is
'outing' open source, a technology that was stuck in government
limbo, neither condoned nor outlawed.
"'People used to think they'd get fired if they talked about it.
It was 'Don't ask, don't tell,'' says Tony M. Stanco, founding
director of the Center of Open Source & Government, a policy
think tank. 'But now that the DOD has legitimized open source,
people won't be afraid to come out and say that they use it.'
"The government may be Linux's main squeeze for a while.
Corporate IT spending is expected to be flat this year. In
contrast, the U.S. government will spend an estimated $59 billion
on tech in 2003, up 7% from last year. Tech giants such as Computer
Sciences, Dell, IBM, Oracle, and Sun Microsystems are typically the
biggest beneficiaries of federal spending. Of note: Through
products sold by those companies, the government may already be
consuming more open-source software than it thinks..."