There would be many benefits to governments using open source software. Open source code is easily adaptable by anyone with programming experience, so programs don't end up as one-size-fits-all messes. Open source software is usually created by a community, and has a lot of eyes on the code. Some people thinks this makes code vulnerable, but in reality it means there are many more eyes on it, and malicious activity is easily rooted out.
The Government historically gives away many of its innovations. For example the Internet, SELinux, ect. Some times they hold on to them, but I would rather pay toward my taxes than give more money to the MPEG-LA. Even the NSA believes the world as a whole would benefit if everyone had more secure systems. Also Win Server 2012 cost +$4000 a pop for a full license. It would cost just as much to build an OS from scratch as it does to buy more than a million licenses over the course of two decades.
Because we can include all schools, universities, government agencies, and local government operations we save more money than you think. Additionally if we add programming courses to schools at many levels, the code base can improve while teaching students fundamentals. Also, we don't need something like seL4. We start with say, Linux and many large corporations, hobbyists, and even foreign governments will contribute. This operating system would be available to all of us including the poor. As a bonus the government would increasingly benefit from increasingly open standards, as would the rest of us.
Open source software is free, so using it could save the government untold sums of money. Each copy of Office is expensive and, when it is purchased for thousands and thousands of computers, those costs really add up.
I believe the government should use open source software. This would help involve the people more in the government. Open source software would allow the people to see what is being used by the people who make our decisions. Open source software would help unite the government and the people and help the gap close between the two.
Governments choose open source software in order to encourage its use, because it lowers the cost of running government. Open source software has proven to be more secure than the most popular proprietary software on the market. Proprietary software has produced the richest man in the world, Bill Gates, and a company, Apple, with more money than the United States of America.
Participating in the use and distribution of open source software is highly democratic, because the best and most useful products will receive the greatest circulation. This encourages the free exchange of ideas, knowledge, and tools, which is what freedom of speech is all about. It is highly appropriate for the government to support such ideals, and as a bonus, they would be able to reallocate the resources that were tied up in buying such programs.
When agencies all choose different software that is unfamiliar to the majority of the public, it is difficult and frustrating for the persons not familiar with computer systems. If the public is to utilize and become familiar with online use, it must feel familiar to them to do so. There are still many adults unfamiliar and unsure of computer use and safety.
The government rides on its paperwork, or in the modern day, its digital files. Tons of documents flow through the levels of government office, and every computer that wants to read them has to pay for the software to do so. If the government used open source software, it would not only help promote its use in the business world, it would also save the government millions of dollars. Nothing is free, and every computer in the government running off something like MS Word costs the taxpayers a lot of money.
Choosing open source software has many benefits. First of all, it would normally be the lowest cost to the government. Further, the quality of the software would be good. Finally, the government's use of open source software would encourage its use. People who used the software in their work would then be familiar with it, and want to use it at home.
In order for the country to bounce back economically, I believe the less government adds to its plate to deal with, the more it can focus on learning how to come together to work on areas, such as national debt reduction, health care, social security and more. Also, allowing businesses to compete and raise the bar, in my opinion, stimulates economic growth and provides a better balance between government and private business. If there is any intervention or encouragement that the government should make, in my opinion, it should be only to encourage the competitors to resolve the issue, not the government.
If governments begin to choose open source software, they will not try to encourage its use. They will try to find a way to regulate it, charge tax on it, and otherwise make it no longer open source. Then there will be no more such thing as open source software.
Our country is based on a free market, which is meant to encourage competition in the market. If the government steps in and starts taking away that competition, then we might as well me in a communist state. Also, our government should not be worried with trivial things like that. They are there to manage our country and keep us moving forward, not promote product.
Because the software is open source, I think that it would be easier for pirates or wrong doers to access the information stored on the system. For example, If the real estate ownership information was stored on open source software then interested parties could change the information to benefit themselves or hurt others. Although the source documents should be kept available it would take a lot of extra time for the employees to verify information any time someone was concerned about the accuracy in the data files.
Government needs to make decisions in software and everything else depending only on whether it's the most effective and best way to do something. It should not use open source software only to boost use and encourage its use. If open source software is the best software for the task then it should be used. Otherwise the most appropriate software should be purchased and used.