Thursday, March 13, 2008

The U.S. Navy Goes Open Source

That unwitting center of global innovation known as the United States Navy has made a bold announcement: from now on, they are only going to accept open source.

I just read about this on CNET, where they were linking to a recent story in Federal Computer Week. When I read this, I just about fell out of my seat. According to Vice Adm. Mark Edwards, deputy chief of naval operations for communications:

“The days of proprietary technology must come to an end,” he said. “We will no longer accept systems that couple hardware, software and data.”

Really. I am not making this up. Here is some more juicy stuff:

“We can’t accept the increasing costs of maintaining our present-day capabilities,” Edwards said. “In the civilian marketplace, it’s just the opposite. Some private-sector concerns are cutting their costs by 90 percent while expanding their performance.”

Edwards noted that the Navy has cut the number of databases and applications it maintains and has reduced its networks by 40 percent. “But it is not enough,” he added. “We would have to double our IT budget over the next several years just to run in place.”

By using an open network architecture, the Navy could rapidly upgrade its capabilities and handle increases for demand, Edwards said.

So what will be next? The U.S. Navy vs. The US Patent and Trademark Office? Wow, talk about getting bogged down in a conflict! Still, my money is on the Navy... I played on a soccer team with a Navy SEAL and a couple of Marines (also not kidding) and those guys really ARE tough!

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