Open Source Movement Gets a Lobby

The National Center for Open Source Policy and Research will promote the use of open source by government agencies.

The open source software industry gained a new government lobby Friday with the launch of the National Center for Open Source Policy and Research, introduced during a presentation at the Government Open Source Conference in Portland, Ore.

The National Center is a non-profit organization promoting the use of open source software solutions within government IT enterprises. NCOSPR will accomplish this, founder and administrator John Weathersby said, by serving as a facilitator and administrator of projects involving government agencies and the open source community.

The National Center will be administered by the Open Source Software Institute on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Miss. It will consist of three components: a National Open Source Resource Center; an academic Open Source Center of Excellence; and an Open Source Public Policy Institute.

As a resource center, NCOSPRs mandate is to serve the public by helping to identify the "common technical needs" within government agencies and promote the resources, applications and expertise of the IT industry and independent open source development communities to meet these needs, Weathersby said.

The adoption of open source promotes interoperability, standardization, extension of product life cycle and best business practices, he said. It also provides leverage in acquisition practices that are currently unimagined in the world of proprietary licenses, vendor lock-in and single-use development practices, he added.

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As an academic center, NCOSPRs mandate is to reach out to the academic community to draft and train the next generation of IT professionals and researchers in order to promote advanced education and economic development.

As a public policy institute, the center will recruit "experienced and innovative thinkers to help craft development, implementation and acquisition policies that will facilitate the continual adoption and growth of open source within the public sector IT communities," Weathersby said.

NCOSPRs administrative offices are located at the USMs main campus and technical offices located at the universitys satellite campus at the John C. Stennis Space Center on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Additional satellite and affiliate branches will be established on-site at participating government, academic and industry partner locations.

The National Center will be funded by public grants, public and private donations and through development and support projects performed for participating government entities.

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he has...