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Your Tax Dollars Buying Open Source Software

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the once-they-have-the-money dept.

Linux Business 182

Roblimo has a story over at NewsForge about DevIS, a software company that relies on Free and open source software to not just weather but actually do well in the current software economy. Part of the reason may be that the company doesn't preach software philosophy; they just find that combining well-tested (and mostly GPL'd) software tools is the path of least resistance when it comes to building Internet applications. Most of their work is for the Federal government; always nice to see public dollars supporting public software. Can anyone point out other good examples of similar businesses?

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182 comments

Post it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5184713)

yum

Re:Post it (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5184749)

yummy

Dear Professor Linux... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5184863)

Dear Professor Linux,

How can I keep from soiling myself with rage every time I hear wee French referred to as "cheese-eating surrender monkeys"?

Sincerely,
Francois P.

Re:Dear Professor Linux... <--WRONG!!! (-1)

Big_Ass_Spork (446856) | more than 11 years ago | (#5185188)

Actually, while I am of French decent, and do enjoy cheese eating, I have never once surrendered. Thank you sir, and have a nice day 8)

Why is this modded Troll? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5184819)

Offtopic or Overrated would be appropriate, but Troll? More abuse from the mods.

Now this is Offtopic, so have at it.

When I have a boner, you'd best suck it (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5184907)

that's the way, that's the way uh huh uh huh I kike it

If the government is willing to PAY for OSS... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5184728)

then I have a nice bridge to sell them. Oh wait...

3rd post! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5184729)

This is the thr0d ps1t!

Share and enjoy!

How are public dollars supporting it? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5184732)

If I, Joe Anonymous Coward, sell the government a copy of Apache, I make money, Apacha does not. Unless I take that money and spend it on helping Apache, then it doesn't support them. That's a pretty big step.

Re:How are public dollars supporting it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5184921)

A quick scan of the article made me wonder what percentage of his developer's time he sets aside for contributions (time) back to those Open Source Efforts. (This may very well be happening, but I didn't see Gallagher pointing it out to the reporter.)

Its nice we all get to play in this park - just don't ask us to cut the lawn when it gets long or pick up the trash ...

Re:How are public dollars supporting it? (5, Insightful)

nanojath (265940) | more than 11 years ago | (#5184955)

This is missing the point, isn't it? If you take open source software and do whateve with it, your derivative product is also open source, and therefore you are an open source software producer, and if the government pays you money for your product, they are supporting open source software.


If your question is, how does this activity support companies that can't create a sustainable business model for their open source software product and/or service (not suggesting this describes Apache), well... it doesn't. I don't necessarily know that I want my tax dollars heading that direction anyway.


If your asking, how does this support the open source software movement in general, well, lots of ways. Open source developers are likely to contribute to and enrich the public code base, since they use it to create their own software, even if they are creating something so specific or odd that their particular project isn't really adding to the public pool of code. I've never met anyone using open source in their professional life who wasn't an enthusiast and contributor to noncommercial open source movement, so the simple fact that an employer is putting food on the tables of open source enthusiast programmers will tend to enrich the movement. And it all gives open source legitimacy and a toehold in the government.

Re:How are public dollars supporting it? (5, Insightful)

rherbert (565206) | more than 11 years ago | (#5185042)

This isn't what they're doing. They're using open source software as a framework for the software they produce, which probably is not open source. If I use JBoss and Apache to serve my web application, that does not mean that the web app the I wrote is open source.

You're supporting open source by using it, and possibly submitting bug reports or fixes that you find in the process of using it. As for actual financial contributions, that's probably not happening.

Re:How are public dollars supporting it? (1, Flamebait)

mph (7675) | more than 11 years ago | (#5185426)

If you take open source software and do whateve with it, your derivative product is also open source,
That is only true for viral licenses, such as the GPL. I do not think it is true for the Apache license.

How are pubic hairs supporting it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5184962)

It makes no sense when you think about it, really. I mean, somethign must be up.

Re:How are public dollars supporting it? (4, Insightful)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 11 years ago | (#5185021)

Support != Money.

Open source software can be supported by someone by the mere word of mouth that it is being used.

Re:How are public dollars supporting it? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5185110)

Money = Resources. Resources = Support.

Re:How are public dollars supporting it? (2, Insightful)

fitten (521191) | more than 11 years ago | (#5185180)

Yup... use that word of mouth to put food on your programmers' tables.

Tax $$$ for Free Software? (4, Funny)

Whatthehellever (93572) | more than 11 years ago | (#5184754)

I've finally found a reason to stop complaining that my tax money isn't being properly used. Now I'll happily pay my taxes!

Re:Tax $$$ for Free Software? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5185246)

Just be glad you don't get as much goverment as you pay for.

Your Tax Dollars Buying Open Source Software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5184759)

Your Tax Dollars Buying Open Source Software!!! more like celda

Public money supporting OS (4, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 11 years ago | (#5184762)


Does RMS' welfare cheques count as another example?

Re:Public money supporting OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5185013)

ho ho ho! you are surely outdoing RMS's accomplishments economically with your mayonaise research!

A flawed economic model (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5184764)


Yes, nothing like basing your business on some piece of shit OS written by a bunch of doped out hippies too busy sucking each other's schlongs than to worry about security. Nothing like letting everyone in the fucking world see what you have "under the hood" to keep them our, cripes just but your passcodes on the 'net. You stupid fucking hippie liberal tree-licking dog-fucking piece of crap, go back to canada or germany or whatever the fuck country your came from and contrinue to live in peace under the umbrella of free Unister State protection, you left coast cunt. I'd like to smash your nuts with my boot heel and then split your sack open and feed your testicle butter to your dog which you probably don't "own" but you're a "pet gaurdian" you stupid cum spot. The only thing worse than a gay nigger faggot is a gay nigger faggot with a computer and internet connection, we shouldn't have taught you people how to read because now you think you have something to say. Go stick needles in your arm and blame it on your parents or society or global warming but FUCK don't take personal responsability holy shit can't do that! Please suck the soft mushy fecal matter right outta my anus and down your throat, trust me it will taste better than the nuke Sadam is going to drop on your house because you want to give him another and another and another chance, fucking California peice of shit. And do it all on Linux, but I'm going to be making money for MS because I'll be making money with MY business because I bought someware that actually does something besides steal music, asshole pirates. Go get a job the world isn't free and while you're at it take bath I can smell you from here.

Re:A flawed economic model (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5184861)

suck my dick

How dare you oppose us? Infidel! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5184886)

You will be silenced. And don't you ever say such things again, or we'll go after your family. Slashdot uber allies!

Who said anything about Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5184901)

This was about linux I though.

Yahoo! too (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5184768)

Yahoo relies almos exclusively on open source and it's own software and it's more than survived the crunch

Similar businesses... (2, Insightful)

dillon_rinker (17944) | more than 11 years ago | (#5184771)

IIRC, General Dynamics made some pretty decent money selling $600 toilet seats to the government, though I think that selling free software to the government is infinitely better.

In seriousness, I REALLY hope such business do not include line items for free software on their bills to the government. (Microsoft's lackeys in Congress could have a field day with that.) Rather, all costs should be related to development, implemenation, etc of solutions...that just happen to utilize free software.

Re:Similar businesses... (3, Informative)

sbuckhopper (12316) | more than 11 years ago | (#5184842)

You said: "In seriousness, I REALLY hope such business do not include line items for free software on their bills to the government. (Microsoft's lackeys in Congress could have a field day with that.) Rather, all costs should be related to development, implemenation, etc of solutions...that just happen to utilize free software."

It is fairly well spelled out in the article, "DevIS does not "Sell Open Source." It sells solutions and applications that meet specification laid down by clients. Often, in the case of Federal sites and online database applications, those specs have to do with accessibility and security, but as long as they are met, Gallagher says, no one really needs to care about what's on the back end as long as whatever it is does the job and can be easily maintained after it is built. If the most cost-effective solution is Open Source, great. If not, Gallagher is not dogmatic. He points out repeatedly that Open Source and proprietary applications can coexist on a server and work together without any problems, and that if his clients require a proprietary application for a specific purpose, that's fine with him."

I realize that was an attempt to be funny about the $600 toilet seats, but that shouldn't be taken lightly. I've worked with a lot of people that were defense contractors at some point in their life and they get really touchy when people start saying blanket statements about things like this. Just because a few people/companies were guilty of this doesn't mean that they all are crooked.

Re:Similar businesses... (2, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 11 years ago | (#5185063)

lets see you buy 12 custom order toilet seats, capable of handling repeated launches into space for less.

Re:Similar businesses... (1)

mOdQuArK! (87332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5185573)

capable of handling repeated launches into space

You mean the toilet seats have to be capable of repeatedly launching payloads into space? Doesn't that make the LEO really nasty?

Re:Similar businesses... (4, Insightful)

Lil'wombat (233322) | more than 11 years ago | (#5185214)

IIRC, General Dynamics made some pretty decent money selling $600 toilet seats to the government, though I think that selling free software to the government is infinitely better.

A word about defense contracting, any product you supply the government most likely has a detailed MIL-SPEC (Military Specification). One of the many DFARS (Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations Supplement ) you contractually agree to is documentation of your compliance with any and all specifications. So consider the lowly toilet seat.

There is probably a MIL-SPEC related to acceptable materials - now you need to test and document the source
Is it on an combat aircraft - then there are MIL-SPECs relating to the explosive combatibility, breakability, and maximum static charge buildup allowed.

When you start to look at all of the required documentation and testing, and the time involved the price gets up there - especially when the lowley $20/hr technician can be billed to the government at $90/hr ($20 + 300% Overhead + allowable Profit ~7% (of the gross!))


As a point of refernce the MIL-SPEC for a 13in antenna for use in the 420 to 460 megacycles per second range is 7 pages long, and references 10 other MIL-SPECs as well.


The really sad thing is that Home Depot probably has a better profit margin on their toilet seats than General Dynamics did.

Get Fscking Real... (3, Interesting)

Chordonblue (585047) | more than 11 years ago | (#5185376)

Oh, cry me a river.

Most defense contracting is a rubber stamp process. Contractors get the MANDATORY yearly price increases, freely given by the gov't, then you have companies tack on extra in fees with little or no real accountability.

If Lockheed builds your F-16, you get the parts from them. If, for some reason, the price on an F-16 widget goes up 200% in one year, this is rarely challenged. The process to do so costs almost as much.

As a Navy boss once said, "Yeah, they got us on this one, but we'll get them on the BIG ones..." This was for a part that was elevated over 1000% in less than three years time. Total cost was over 10 million dollars. Big ones... Right.

Re:Similar businesses... (5, Informative)

JonWan (456212) | more than 11 years ago | (#5185357)

General Dynamics made some pretty decent money selling $600 toilet seats to the government,

My father worked for GD in Ft.Worth, He told me about a $300 screwdriver a sub-contractor made. The reason for the outragous price was that they charged for all of the R&D time to design the thing and the time it took to frabricate it. When you take into account the machine time and the cost of the design work I'm amazed they could do it that cheap. Thats not to say that the Gov. dosen't get overcharged for things, just that it might not always be as bad as it seems.

I've built special tools back when I worked as a line mechanic. I made $25.00 per hour flat rate, if I spent 2 hours making the tool it cost me $50 .00 for that tool plus materials. I knew a machinist that charged $100.00 per hour for mill work, so it wouldn't take long to rack-up $300.00. That dosen't even take into account exotic materials.

I've always seen the toilet seat example and wondered what the whole story was. I figure that it was a price based on a small number of seats that were designed for a specfic location like an aircraft. Required to meet Mil. Specs. and one from the local Home Despot wouldn't work. For the price I'll bet it's Aluminum (Brrr) and with a short run, mostly hand made.

Security Enhanced Linux? (5, Insightful)

SHEENmaster (581283) | more than 11 years ago | (#5184773)

I think that the NSA's SE Linux helps us more; we are getting something for our tax dollars.

Is this company "better" because it redistributes OSS for cash? I see that as a necessity of making the software truly free, not as anything that can particularly help us.

M$ has been using OSS to make money for years, but where's their parade?

End anonymous moderation now! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5184779)


Groupthink and its related moderation abuse is killing Slashdot's public commentary system! Taco's made it worse with the percentage-based mod reports, which hide editorial and user modabuse even more! Please act now!!

Right (5, Insightful)

Bob Abooey (224634) | more than 11 years ago | (#5184780)

But is this really a surprise anymore? I think we've gotten beyond the marketing hype that exploded when the dot com bubble burst and people are simply looking for the best value proposition. We truly have seen a major paradigm shift over the past few years for many grassroots companies.

Sadly it's the fortune 500 corporate america that has yet to embrace common sense and as they still feel the need to live by the "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM" mindset which some see as a way to survive. Large corporations have very differnt forces driving them.

Re:Right MOD PARENT UP (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5184940)

He's right you know. I work for HP and I can tell you that most people in my division make IT decisions based upon not screwing up rather than taking a risk and maybe doing something special. I'm guessing it's pretty much that way in most huge companies.

Re:Right (2, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 11 years ago | (#5184941)


Sorry, you get "+1; Insightful" for the overall message, but "-1; Catch-Phrases" for major paradigm shift

The Editors.

Re:Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5185038)

The funny thing is that now, it's IBM that's pushing OSS!

Re:Right (4, Funny)

swillden (191260) | more than 11 years ago | (#5185359)

Sadly it's the fortune 500 corporate america that has yet to embrace common sense and as they still feel the need to live by the "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM"

IBM is selling them Linux!

I'd rather see... (1, Interesting)

NineNine (235196) | more than 11 years ago | (#5184789)

...my tax dollars supporting the economy better. Instead of going to a company that uses that money to grow, pay taxes, pay employees, and pay investors, tax money goes into a company that does little more than repackage somebody else's work. Not exactly a good return on tax dollars, in my opinion.

Re:I'd rather see... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5184835)

Instead of going to a company that uses that money to grow, pay taxes, pay employees, and pay investors, tax money goes into a company that does little more than repackage somebody else's work. Not exactly a good return on tax dollars, in my opinion.

Let me get this straight...

You prefer spending money, buying software from a company which employs people to buying software from a company which employs people.

Ok. Got it.

Re:I'd rather see... (0, Flamebait)

dillon_rinker (17944) | more than 11 years ago | (#5184845)

Great troll. You'd have us believe that you think Microsoft actually does systems integration for all the government agencies that use MS software, and that you think that paying money to MCSPs, consulting firms, and resellers of MS software is wastage. Replies to your post will either wonder about your relationship with Microsoft, explain to you how good Linux is, or simply bash MS. Excellent work.

Re:I'd rather see... (3, Funny)

jimand (517224) | more than 11 years ago | (#5184889)

Doesn't ninenine.com "repackage someone else's" content to create a "Free Porn" site? Doesn't your stated philosophy here say you should be hiring/paying the, uhh, content providers?

Re:I'd rather see... (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 11 years ago | (#5184926)

The question was essentially "your tax dollars at work". NineNine.com doesn't receive any gov't support.

Re:I'd rather see... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5184948)

Sure it does. How many visitors to ninenine are using government time and government computers? My bet is a significant number.

Re:I'd rather see... (5, Insightful)

jmkaza (173878) | more than 11 years ago | (#5184995)

This isn't someone repackaging someone else's work. Free software is great, but you have to have someone install, configure, and maintain that software. As a taxpayer, what bill would you rather the gov't pay...

Labor: $500,000
Hardware: $1,500,000
Software Licenses: $3,500,000

or

Labor: $500,000
Hardware: $1,500,000
Software Licenses: Free

Re:I'd rather see... (-1, Redundant)

NineNine (235196) | more than 11 years ago | (#5185348)

That "software license" fee isn't just funny money. It does to pay for development. Oracle, HP, and MS had to pay a lot of people for development of their software. GenericOSSCompany doesn't. That moeny gets paid to developers, marketing people, etc. That money creates jobs, pays taxes again, supports investments, etc. That doesn't happen with OSS. Nobody is paid for development.

Not for long (5, Funny)

gokubi (413425) | more than 11 years ago | (#5184796)

Now that we've publicized that DevIS is a bunch of communists, you can be sure that federal grants for this company will mysteriously dry up.

Communists are your friends (4, Funny)

Captain Beefheart (628365) | more than 11 years ago | (#5185048)

Now, if it was proven DevIS were *terrorists*, we'd already be under a barrage of PSAs telling us open-source funds drug abuse or something.

MPU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5185095)

now that's funny ;o)

Re:Not for long (-1)

-1bynextweek (642604) | more than 11 years ago | (#5185050)

Now that we've publicized that DevIS is a bunch of communists

This is begging for an In Soviet Russia response, but I just can't think of one.

Update your lingo, man... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5185177)

Where have you been the last 10 years? The bad guys are no longer communists . Now we call them terrorists .

mmm... $ (5, Funny)

goatasaur (604450) | more than 11 years ago | (#5184803)

I thought our tax dollars were used to market government-approved violent games [americasarmy.com] to our nation's youth. Silly me, it's being used for the development and proliferation of OSS!

Why do I always feel like I'm waking up from a nightmare?

I Wish I Could Say So (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5184805)

But we are embracing .net .. with a looming budget deficit, yet!

whitehouse.gov and cl-httpd (4, Interesting)

kwoo (641864) | more than 11 years ago | (#5184814)

http://www.pub.whitehouse.gov used to run cl-httpd, an open source web server written in Common Lisp. I just checked the link and it's dead now, but according to NetCraft, www.whitehouse.gov is running an unknown web server on Linux.

It's easier to use OSS in outsourcing (5, Informative)

rherbert (565206) | more than 11 years ago | (#5184816)

My company, Sycamore Associates [sycamore.us] , does a good deal of government work, and we use OSS products whenever possible (including Linux, Apache, perl, and JBoss, among others). It seems, though, that it's easier to convince government clients to use these products when they're outsourcing and we agree to support the products - that way, it's transparent to them, and we take care of any problems.

What's harder is when we have subcontractors on site and we try to convince them to use these things internally. They're concerned that the subcontractors will move on and they'll be stuck with something they don't understand or know how to support. I suppose this is a valid concern, but a little education would go a long way to alleviate this.

Right now, I'm working as a subcontractor to Lockheed Martin [lockheedmartin.com] on a NIMA [nima.mil] contract. They still use Sun and SGI servers, but they run Apache, Tomcat, and Samba, as well as many GNU tools.

City govt buys Redhat, SuSE and Xandros (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5184823)

I'm the network admin for a city govt. We purchased copies of the above distros.

I don't give a FLYING FUCK! (4, Insightful)

melted (227442) | more than 11 years ago | (#5184824)

I don't give a flying fuck whether the software my tax dollars are buying is free or not. What I do care about if it's the right software for the job, and whether the government will be more effective as a result of buying this software. It is unwise (at best) to base your decisions solely on whether the software is open or not.
*

Re:I don't give a FLYING FUCK! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5184973)

Seeing as GNU/Open Source software is almost always a better choice for server tasks (at least), then you should give a flying fuck which software is being chosen.

I do care (4, Insightful)

ChaosDiscord (4913) | more than 11 years ago | (#5184978)

I do care if the government is spending my tax dollars on free software. I agree with your core statement, "What I do care about if it's the right software for the job, and whether the government will be more effective as a result of buying this software." It just happens that one of the many variables that should be considered is the openness of the software. What happens if the company you bought the proprietary software goes under or simply discontinues on unprofitable product? How expensive will it be to purchase the source or move to another platform. What is the risk of the company forcing you to upgrade to fix bugs? What is the risk that the company will refuse to make changes that you desire? Can you gain any benefit from shopping the source around to competing contractors to get modifications you require? What's the risk of facing an expensive audit? What will it cost now to minimize the cost of a potential audit?

Making a buying decision solely on the openness of the software is probably a bad ideal. But open source has alot to offer that needs to be weighed against the advantages of proprietary software. In particular open source helps limit risk, if all else fails you can take the source and contract with a competitor to fix or change it. Too many software purchasing decisions are simply "Which software provides the best balance of functionality now for payment now?" completely ignoring future costs and risks. That's an equally foolish way to purchase software.

I give a fuck. To your heiney hole. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5184982)

that's right, I'm back. Thank you very much/

SLASHDOT! Why you ruin internet? Why? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5184851)

I come from Italy to make-a for you a nice web-a page and you slashdot my nice web page. Oooh, you make-a me so angry, slashdot, I want to shove a pizza pie in your heiney hole!

The Federal branch of the United States (LLC) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5184874)

The most corrupt part of the government is of the "Federal Government."

Go research the 1867 Constitution of the United States of America as received by the Colorado Recorder's Archive. See a difference between your constitution and Colorado's? Today, the 14th Ammendment (unlawfuly ratified) dictates that you are a citizen of the United States by contract and your rights may be revoked (enumerated as United States citizen). What were we before the 14th Ammendment? Yes, that's right, our rights were unalienable::not revokable, nor able to be abridged. The 14th Ammendment was not written by Abraham Lincoln and neither was Lincoln planning on the manumission of slaves; Lincoln emancipated the slaves (transfered them to a new master).

The Federal brank of the United States (LLC) tricks you into received federal benefits (Social Security) and your personage is employed by them and by contract you agree to have your 14th Ammednment (alienable rights) abridged further. And so concludes, I recommend nobody makes any agreements, neither volunteer your software or time, to a government that is not by the people and for the people.

Richard M. Stallman and Eric S. Raymond agree with me on this fact. Once government gets its foot stuck in the door of free software, you will find yourself a perpetual slave, forever a secured asset and interest, of the Federal Government: remember, the United States is a bank and its Federal branch is currently battling to keep its charter as an outsourced bank.

Kudos.

OSS is perfect for this type of business (5, Informative)

Mastos (448544) | more than 11 years ago | (#5184899)

I work for a company, DigitalNet (previously Getronics Government Solutions), that does pretty much all its business with the government. In the consulting business, what matters is we get the job done, not how we do it. Traditionally, all the development was with commercial software tools and libraries but more and more open source is starting to creep in. In my current contract, 100% of the code is open source. The beauty of multi-platform code (in this case Java and ANSI SQL) is the core application can be integrated with commercial databases or run on a commercial application server (instead of the Tomcat I developed with). This allows me to distribute the app with OSS fully functional yet allow the client to replace key infrastructure with commercial software as desired.

Projects like Struts, stxx, Lucene, JFreeChart, AspectJ, etc allow me to add tons of functionality without having to do anything. In only a few hours, I used Lucene to add the ability to search the entire database. Even better, when the client is willing and usually is, you can release any changes/fixes/improvements back into the project. My boss is convinced open source is going to be key going forward.

If you want to have a job programming open source software, this is a great field for it. BTW, thanks partially to the success of this contract, our next job ad features the preferred knowledge of open source technologies. :)

Umm, this is dumb (-1, Flamebait)

geek (5680) | more than 11 years ago | (#5184902)

I dont want my tax dollars paying for FREE stuff. Thats rediculous. If they are gonna pay for it then get the quality products rather than the eternal beta software the OSS community creates. The only advantage OSS has is that it's free. If you pay for it that advantage is gone.

You all are missing the point.. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5184906)

Listen folks, the point of this company is not selling software, but services. If you would READ the article, you would see that. devIS is a services company. That's the whole point. They don't charge for the free software they use, but for the solutions the produce using these tools. For instance, you can't just hand the government a Zope server and expect it to do everything they want. Someone has to program it to do something relevant. This is what this company happens to do. Now, because they use free software, like Apache and Zope and Postgres, your tax dollars are saved from buying proprietary solutions that soon require costly upgrades and such. This money that is saved then can be pumped back into the economy elsewhere, whether to another contractor, or another economic program like finding some of these whiners jobs.

I'm not missing your sister's g-spot, I know that! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5184927)

Or else why would she be screaming so fucking loud. Wait, I know how to shut her up...

Tax Deductible Donations == Subsidy (5, Interesting)

4of12 (97621) | more than 11 years ago | (#5184956)


Just to restate the obvious, but if you donate some of your own money to a qualified 501(c)3 organization such as the Free Software Foundation, then, at least in the USA, you may deduct it on your tax return from your gross income.

So in that sense, the government is subsidizing open source software at whatever your marginal tax rate happens to be.

They're subsidizing a lot of other organizations that way, too, such as mortgage creditors, but I feel that the public investment in more and improved free software contributes more to the overall productivity of the economy [I'm sure realtors and home builders would dispute me].

Re:Tax Deductible Donations == Subsidy (0)

poorgeek (205746) | more than 11 years ago | (#5185026)

There are many ways to contribute to open source projects other than donations. Most companies that use open source products in their buisness also contribute back to the projects themselves by helping to extend the projects.

DARPA funded OS robot software: Player/Stage (3, Interesting)

rtv (567862) | more than 11 years ago | (#5184974)

The Player/Stage Project [sourceforge.net] makes the Player server, a networked interface to lots of robot hardware, and Stage a multiple robot simulator that uses the Player interface. All the code is GPL, managed from Sourceforge [sourceforge.net] , and has been funded largely by DARPA [darpa.mil] , via USC Robotics Research Labs [usc.edu] and HRL Labs [hrl.com] from the start.

P/S is used by research labs all over the world, as well as by several DARPA funded projects in the US. The program manager (an official agent of the Man) has always been extremely cool about the OS nature of the project. He immediately understood that by staying OS we could pool the resources of hundreds of researchers, most of whom were not being paid by DARPA, to solve a pressing need for network-friendly robot interfaces and re-usable code. A good deal for everyone.

ticketmaster.com is all opensource (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5184981)

neat company

Simple (4, Interesting)

mao che minh (611166) | more than 11 years ago | (#5185033)

I don't see why some people would see this as an issue at all. This company here uses open source code to get a job a done. This job just happens to be for the United States government. Whoop-de-doo.

I could go on and on about the benefits of open source, but we have all heard that arguement before, so here is just a real brief recap:

1. OSS is cheaper then proprietary, or free
2. Because it is open source, you can always have in-house people maintain it or hire someone else too. This longevity of the same product will save the tax payers even more money by avoiding upgrade cycles.
3. Because it is open source, you can integrate it into future projects easily.
4. Because of 2 and 3 above, you as a government entity are not chained to a single closed-sourced vendor with no control over products purchased with the public reserves.

Re:Simple (1)

BigBir3d (454486) | more than 11 years ago | (#5185325)

In response to #2 and #3. WTF are you smoking, and will you share?

Open source has nothing to do with your company having someone in house that can maintain your product/service. For example, MAS 90 is absolutely closed source, yet companies that sell and implement it provide maintenance as well as customized (modular) solutions.

How does something being open source make it more likely to be integrated with other projects easily ? A program that is written badly is still bad, whether open of closed source.

For how long? (1)

The-Perl-CD-Bookshel (631252) | more than 11 years ago | (#5185101)

I can imagine the phone call now...

President Bush: Let me get this straight, tax dollars that isn't going in our pockets?

Bill Gates: Unbelievable right?

President Bush: Even though I can not pronounce their name *giggle* hasn't stopped me in the past *giggle*, i'm still going to add this Deeev-ess to the Axis of Evil.

Bill Gates: and make them run Windows? *fingers crossed*

President Bush: Yeah i'll make some sort of anti-terror law about free something or other.

The Goverment invented OSS -- sort of...... (5, Interesting)

bdsesq (515351) | more than 11 years ago | (#5185107)

I know this is going to be a popular post.

By law any software produced by tax dollars is available to a citizen for the cost of distribution. Classified stuff is obviously not available.

But if you want a copy of that Cobol program that calculated your income tax on a nice new 6250BPI tape just ask.

All of this predates GNU, copyleft and OSS by many years. So the government (Al Gore anyone?) can take credit for Open Source.

heh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5185267)

Isn't the phrase "buying open source" an oxymoron?

My grandmother drives a Volvo (2, Funny)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 11 years ago | (#5185284)

Perhaps the ideal Open Source company is not a behemoth run by a ruthless, profit-driven executive, but is something like devIS, run by a Volvo-driving, former Peace Corps volunteer like Gallagher, who talks more about money he has saved taxpayers and how well the sites his company has made serve their intended constituencies than about the amount of money he has put in his (or investors') pockets.

Hey! Some of us like money, american muscle cars, tits, red meat, guns, AND Open Source thank you very much ..

Don't forget about the MS tax on schools (2)

Chordonblue (585047) | more than 11 years ago | (#5185285)

We fund public schools. How much of your tax dollars ultimately end up in the hands of Microsoft? Is it necessary?

Long Live STALIN!! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5185321)

If we buy enough communist anti-capitalist software we can eventually use all the unemployed engineers to work on a massive genetics project to resurrect Stalin and fully reestablish the former Soviet Union on the American continent.

Down with capitalism! Down with Pay for work!!

This has been happening for awhile. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5185383)

Sun's Cobalt line of products (http://www.sun.com/hardware/serverappliances/) have been essentially selling Linux, Apache, etc for a few years now. And at LinuxWorld you couldn't throw a stick without hitting a tier 1 hardware company hocking an enterprise cluster solution built on top of Linux.

But many of those tier 1s - IBM, for example with its participation in Eclipse.org - are giving back to the open source community. And it makes perfect sense. They are moving hardware and service associated with their 'solutions'. There isn't much opportunity for margin for them in pushing Windows or a web server.

The company I work for (http://www.bugopolis.com) is selling application appliances which serve the open source bugzilla and gforge applications. So, we are an integrator of sorts concentrating on more specialized best-of-breed software development tools. Hopefully we are doing our bit to popularize open source software and it is our intention to contribute back to the projects we are using in our products.

Example in the Netherlands (2, Informative)

Neelix21 (143043) | more than 11 years ago | (#5185386)

This site [www.nut.nl] is a dutch hosting company which only hosts websites for non-profit organisations. They only use open-source software to host those websites.

I don't know whether it's because it saves a lot of money or that it's an idealistic point of view, but it certainly is a good example :).

Neelix.

As logical as Deersoft being baught by NAI (1)

digitalgimpus (468277) | more than 11 years ago | (#5185403)

Serously, they pay for what they can do for free?

NAI could have used the technology behind Deersofts software, SpamAssassin for free! But they still bought it.

How wierd. How do companies justify this stuff?

Does "barely getting by" = "success"? (2, Interesting)

Teckla (630646) | more than 11 years ago | (#5185596)

WARNING: WILD ASS GUESSES FOLLOW.

With 30+ employees (I'll assume 32.5 employees) and $4 million in revenue, that's $123,000 per employee.

Business owners know that your typical employee costs around 150% of their yearly salary. With that in mind, only $82,000 of your original $123,000 per employee is left.

But, wait! You haven't paid for their computers yet. Or the office space. Or the guy that empties the trash cans. Or electricity. Or the Internet connection (hey, browsing pr0n takes bandwidth, and bandwidth costs money!). And a million and one other things that we don't ever think about. Running a business COSTS MONEY.

I'll pull a number out of my and shave off another 25%. That leaves $61,500 per employee.

There's more! You damn well know the managers and executives are paying themselves a lot more than the slaves ^H^H^H^H^H^H developers.

At the end of the day, the developers are probably getting a well "below average" paycheck, and the company is probably barely getting by.

This is success? By some measures, YES.

BUT...forgive me if I'm NOT impressed. They probably won't be able to keep every employee busy 100% of the time (and you still have to pay idle employees -- at least, I assume they're salaried rather than hourly). If rough times hit this company, I'm willing to bet they don't have enough money in the bank to get by for long.

-Teckla

Re:Does "barely getting by" = "success"? (0)

sexx0r hermoine (645188) | more than 11 years ago | (#5185671)

They should come up with something like a distributed computing project to get their moneys worth from the employees idle time. Instead of eating dougnuts, they could be stapling flyers together or something.

Great. More government welfare and incompetence (0, Troll)

I Am The Owl (531076) | more than 11 years ago | (#5185630)

Don't we have enough parasites screaming for handouts without the government paying out money for that which is, by definition, free?

Virginia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5185666)

This sounded like a great place to work until I saw what state it was located in. I know what most people in Virginia do for the feds and I don't want to work with them. Just look at the kind of trials they send there. Those people have a strong bias.
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