As a board member of Linux Fund, one of the charter members of Open Source of America, I was interested in your story.

Although I did not go to the kickoff meeting (I was tied up with other activities), I’ve been tracking this for a while.

I think we can reliably establish three levels of Open Source in Government:

1. FLOSS is permitted as an option
2. FLOSS is preferred when possible.
3. FLOSS is mandatory

While some would want “preferred” or “mandatory” as the state of things, and I can support that, it’s all too often that just *permitting* a FLOSS solution to a bid would be an incredible up-tick in exposure. From what I understand, all too often the RFPs go out with “must use Windows XP” or “must generate and accept documents in Microsoft Excel format”, or even the ludicrous “systems must have an active Norton AntiVirus as delivered”.

Thus, the first goal is very likely the low-hanging fruit… if we can at least start bidding with FLOSS, we stand a chance of winning on many other aspects, and will likely be accepted on pure merit alone.

And to your list of organizations to fund, let me add our own, having given away over $700k in the past decade to worthwhile FLOSS projects across the spectrum. Donations are accepted directly, but the majority of the money has come from using the Tux-bearing credit cards in the US and Canada. (And we now offer a Beastie card as well!)