Microsoft Helping Government Embrace Open Source Programming

John Breeden II | FedScoop | October 30, 2014

If we had to name one place where an open and trusted computing platform was most needed, it would be inside government. As part of that, the Obama administration last year signed an executive order requiring government information be open and machine readable. However, it also needs to be secure, because some information needs to be kept secret regardless of platform. That’s where efforts like the IRS 1075 regulatory standards come into play, requiring security for tax documents.

On the front lines of both of these efforts is a company that probably doesn’t come to mind in the open source movement, especially in government. Although it has not until very recently begun taking credit for its efforts, Microsoft is quickly emerging as a major leader for open source.

I tracked down two people at Microsoft to help expose and explain their open source efforts. I talked with Kent Cunningham, chief technology officer for federal, civilian and health care, and Michael Donlan, vice president of U.S. state and local government. Both explained how important open source is to Microsoft and how they are helping government agencies to create a robust, yet secure, open source environment. Some of their answers to my questions were pretty surprising...