The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau had the distinct advantage of being able to build its systems from scratch, having been established by a 2010 law.
One of the advantages it has had over other government agencies making the transition to more modern systems was the fact it was entirely unencumbered by legacy systems. As such, it took advantage of that flexibility to build open systems built on open source software that could grow with the agency over time.
So writes, agency acting deputy chief information officer, Matthew Burton, in a recent O’Reilly Radar guest post. In fact, Burton said the goal of establishing the agency IT infrastructure was not only to use open source, but to share code with the public (whenever it didn’t compromise system security).
In the post, he also outlines the reasons for using open source code from other projects in government initiatives as well, and it’s for all the reasons that you’ve probably been using open source. It easy to acquire with no 0n-going license fees. It enables them remain flexible in terms of platforms because they aren’t tied to a proprietary code base and it allows them to creative with tools they build themselves, something that’s much more difficult in a proprietary stack.
For some time, IT pros in the private sector have recognized the value of using open source software. For the government, it’s been a slower track, but since President Obama was elected, the government has embraced open source as a more cost-effective alternative to proprietary software. The US government has also embraced cloud computing under Obama as a way to save money.