Using Free, Open-Source Software in Local Governments: Streamlined Internal Computing for Better Performance and Record Keeping

Aug 9, 2010

Given the recent economic crisis around the world, many local governments are still feeling the budgetary pressures, and are uncertain as to how they can maintain vital services while also cutting costs.  One potential avenue to lessening financial problems while also improving the quality of their computing is to consider embracing the possibilities of free and/or open source software.  The paper presents a general recap of how open source ideals have entered different areas of the Federal government, as well as many portions of the corporate world.  It goes on to present the question at hand: how is it that local governments have failed to capitalize on the cost-saving and productivity-enhancing benefits of using open source software, especially given the budget crises they face?  In answering this question, the report presents 6 case studies of US cities of varying sizes, analyzing the varying degrees of open source implementation, and examines both positive and negative outcomes of those decisions.  It then presents a starting points and tools for local governments to initiate open source projects of their own.

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