The OSFA Mentors maintain this list of resources that can help you make the case for open source in government.

You may also be interested in our Case Studies, which are sometimes the best way to tell the story of open source.


Government Open Source Software. This is a collaboratively curated list of software released by the U.S. Government.

Open Source in the U.S. Government. This is a compilation of major events in the history of the U.S. Government’s adoption of open source.

A Visual Timeline of Open Source in the U.S. Government. This is a visualization of the two resources above. It’s really cool!


Jim Stogdill, Accenture. “Creating Open Source Government“, Ignite Philly 2, 2008.

Red Hat, “Open Source Government“, May 19, 2009

Gunnar Hellekson, Red Hat. “Applying Open Source Principles to Government“, O’Reilly Open Source Conference 2009.

Macon Phillips, “Obama’s New Media Director Backs Open Source“, Gov 2.0 Summit, 2009

FLOSS Weekly #160 with Randal Schwartz and Simon Phipps, Interview with David Wheeler, April 6, 2011

Jay Nath, City of San Francisco. “Open Source Government“, TEDxSoMa, June 28, 2011

Helpful Guides

How to Evaluate Open Source Software / Free Software (OSS/FS) Programs
An excellent guide for deciding when an open source project is right for your program.

Total cost of ownership of open source software: a report for the UK Cabinet Office supported by OpenForum Europe
A proposed TCO model for open source software from Maha Shaikh and Tony Cornford.

Free and Open Source Software Use: Benefits and Compliance Obligations
A good intro to best compliance and governance practices in government from Philip Koltun of the Linux Foundation.

Government Computer Software Acquisition and The GNU General Public License
B. Scott Michel, Lt. Cmdr., PhD, USN(RC)
Eben Moglen, Software Freedom Law Center
Mishi Choudhary, Software Freedom Law Center
Dorothy Becker, Navy OGC, SPD Patent Counsel
Published October 2011

Publicly Releasing Open Source Software Developed for the U.S. Government
September 2011. Includes a very valuable chart describing which rights the government has to software, and under which circumstances.

The DOD Open Source FAQ
Updated frequently. Helpful for civilian agencies, as well.

Open Technology Development (OTD): Lessons Learned & Best Practices for Military Software
Released May 16, 2011

Government Open-Source Software (GOSS) “Handbook for Govies”
Released June 29, 2011 — Version 1.7

How to Evaluate Open Source Software / Free Software (OSS/FS) Programs
An outstanding step-by-step process for determining if an open source project is right for you.

Open Source Software (OSS) and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
A high-level treatment of the TCO question, with suggestions for acquisitions folks.