In part, the economy has encouraged some verticals -- such as government -- to investigate open source options. In November 2009, in fact, a group of open source code practitioners wrote to President Barack Obama, urging him to require wider adoption of open source code throughout government. Last month, Open Source for America released its 2011 Federal Open Technology Report Card, which measured the government's open source efforts.
"Using open technologies creates cost efficiencies, more responsive and innovative software, and can help governments, enterprises, and individual users avoid being dependent on a single vendor for software solutions. A 2009 Meritalk study indicated the U.S. federal government could save $3.7 billion by switching to open source solutions," the organization said. "Further, open source code is publicly available for review, meaning that flaws are more easily discovered and fixed. Open technologies are also a key ingredient to achieving the administration's drive to align the Federal budget and acquisition process with the technology cycle, strengthen program management, increase engagement with the IT community, and adopt light technologies and shared solutions."
Other verticals, such as healthcare, also are adopting open source solutions, Gartner found. As medical organizations invest in electronic health records (EHRs) and health information exchanges (HIEs), some are considering open source as protection against vendor lock-in, Gartner said.
In November, for example, the Department of Defense's Defense Health Information Management System (DHIMS) program office contracted with open source HIE developer Mirth for enterprise software and development support in implementing Mirth Connect.
"Mirth Connect represents a cost-effective and time-efficient way for agencies like DoD and the [Department of Veterans Affairs] to enable information to follow military personnel across broad distances and between government and private sector care settings, helping reduce costs associated with duplicate testing, and creating a safer, more connected healthcare environment for those who serve our country," said Jon Teichrow, president of Mirth, in a statement at the time.