Open-source and the Public Sector - supporting the Bigger Society

It was really good to read the other day that the White House has been using the Drupal based Open Atrium; however, it was even better to read that they've been contributing to its development, benefiting anyone wanting to use it. The White House invested in a number of key Drupal modules (many that I often make use of), and released their code to the wider world.

This got me thinking, isn't this exactly what the State should be doing? It's great that they are open to the idea of using open-source platforms. Surely the tax payers' money being thrown at the development of these platforms should be more openly released back into the open-source community. Apart from anything, others in the same sector can avoid funding the reinvention of the same wheel!

There's been a fair amount of talk about the Big Society here in the UK (don't get me started on that). Governments and the Public Sector could be investing in the Bigger Society. Supporting the open-source society has the potential to benefit people globally, not just on the local level. That includes other national Public Sector organisations, charitable groups, and the general public; and don't forget poorer nations who perhaps can't afford to invest in developing these systems, despite the benefits of having them.

It would be good to see a push for some of this internal development being contributed back. Hopefully more of the Public Sector will follow the White House's lead!

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