I just listened to a speech by President Obama stating he was doing what he could to cut the fat from government operations and that he was asking Congress to return the fast-track authority presidents used to have. He gave as an example the maze of departments and points of contact that small businesses needed to deal with government. He described all kinds of consolidations that should reduce head-count and complexity cutting costs.
One thing that reducing complexity should do is to cut the numbers of data-centres and IT organizations in government. This involves a lot of work but in the end more should be doable by fewer people and fewer computers. Probably more will be done with GNU/Linux and thin clients. Obama has already shown with whitehouse.gov that FLOSS works. Several departments have already deployed a lot of FLOSS and the overall plan for a more open government should call for open standards and FLOSS.
The US government spends $billions each year on IT and a lot of that money goes to M$ and is wasted. Every penny that is cut back or FLOSS package installed is money saved that can cut the deficit or go towards worthy programmes. The Whitehouse is well aware of FLOSS:
“These and other open source applications now exist in almost every organization in the US. Gartner estimates that 85% of all enterprise IT runs on open source. 73% are fielding large solutions based on MySQL. The majority of the intelligence community’s data centers now run on open source software.
Open source software now has a large and thriving developer community. Over 900,000 developers are coding in open source software today. This is larger than all the proprietary developers of all the proprietary closed source software companies put together. And these open source software developers are highly skilled, experienced programmers (the average age of an open source developer is 30. The average length of programing experience is 11 years). “
However, it is an election year and the Republicans will likely spin this as an attempt to enlarge government… so we may have to wait for the elections to see how this proposal flies. If the best the Republicans have is Romney, Obama and Congress may work better together next year.