The Rise of Open Source

The Department of Defense put out a memo last month that changed its stance on the use of open source software. Now it looks like the government is realizing some of the benefits of open source. For example, it can lead to better security and reliability.

Another benefit from using open source is that ability to not rely on a single vendor. That reduces risk. This guidance comes with some warnings. The government recommends you choose open source products which have a company which stands behind the open source product. That limits the playing field significantly.

Recently we wanted to do some massive changes to the reporting that is done in our system. We considered many technologies. One such choice was to use Adobe PDFs. We found some cool open source code to generate PDFs easily. But there was just too much red tape to overcome to use the libraries. They were created by a single dude. The sounded too risky to our customer. The result was that we went with a Microsoft solution which incurred a lot of developer pain.