"2004 may be the year for open source software to catch on in a
big way in government agencies. For years, federal, state, and
local agencies have been using open source software--some in the
open, some on the sly--but the extent of open source's
proliferation in public agencies remains unknown, as few hard
numbers are available.
"Government agencies have implemented open source solutions that
range from Linux running, data-collection computers on Naval
Oceanographic Office survey ships to a Web-based tool that allows
the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to quickly
process the visas of foreign workers scheduled to train in the
United States. USAID's Web-based Visa Compliance System, which went
live in January, was developed using the open source Python
programming language and runs on the Linux OS, PostgreSQL database,
and Apache Web server, says Peter Gallagher, president of IT
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