The US Department of Defense has issued a policy that officially authorises the use of open-source software, as long as it complies with its policies for commercial and government off-the-shelf software and meets certain security standards.
The policy is significant and sets an important precedent, said Tony Stanco, director of the Center of Open Source & Government and associate director of the Cyber Security Policy & Research Institute at George Washington University in Washington DC.
"This is the first time the federal government in the US has given an official policy towards open source," he said. "The policy puts it at a level playing field with proprietary software and that is exactly the way it should be. Open source before wasn't discussed and that makes people wonder if they should use it."
Stanco heralded the policy as a victory for the open-source movement and believed more government organisations worldwide would now opt for open-source software.
Meanwhile, Microsoft said it was "committed to working with the Department of Defense to deliver products that meet its requirements and deliver cost effective, value-based solutions".
Joris Evers writes for IDG News Service