In Federal Computer Week Vice Adm. Mark Edwards, deputy chief of naval operations for communications was quoted saying:
The days of proprietary technology must come to an end,” he said. “We will no longer accept systems that couple hardware, software and data.
Jeff Waugh endorsed what he read as a step toward open source saying “The US Navy warmly embraces Open Standards (a natural talent for Open Source), for all the right reasons” but what are those reasons?
FCW refers to “a combination of motivations” but focuses chiefly on cost:
The Navy’s decision was informed by a combination of motivations, including the desire to provide the latest capabilities to warfighters and control the costs of its information technology operations, he added.
“We can’t accept the increasing costs of maintaining our present-day capabilities,” Edwards said. “In the civilian marketplace, it’s just the opposite. Some private-sector concerns are cutting their costs by 90 percent while expanding their performance.”
Is this just a negotiation tactic to temporarily lower the cost of the proprietary systems the Navy has apparently been satisfied to purchase so far?
When you look at proprietary systems as a cost issue (instead of preserving national sovereignty, or gaining freedom to improve the system outside of the proprietor’s control) you find that proprietors pitching to big clients are usually willing to lower their price in the short term to get the contract. Then the proprietor ramps up the price later on, leaving the client with a monopoly for “support” all along. I have a hard time believing that any serious escape from the links between government and the large proprietary software/hardware firms will come quickly.