Tuesday, 10 May 2016 12:25

With eye on government contracts, Red Hat opens Canberra office

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With an eye to being closer to possible lucrative federal government contracts, Red Hat has opened an office in the Australian capital.

A media release from Red Hat, the biggest open source company, said the Canberra office, its fourth in the country, was opened due to the increasing interest from government organisations and private companies in the area in Red Hat's  suite of offerings.

The appetite for open source in Australia's government sector, long a captive to Microsoft, has been growing in recent years.

In 2014, the Boston-based Acquia won a federal government contract to build up to 450 websites using the open-source Drupal software. The resulting CMS will be known as govCMS.

In 2011, the federal government released a policy requiring agencies to consider open source software for all software procurements. Government agencies were also asked to actively participate in open source software communities and contribute back where appropriate.

But in practice, there has been little movement on this on any big scale before the Acquia contract.

Microsoft has traditionally held sway when it comes to government contracts. It has even dictated some of the requirements that are needed for the democratic process in Australia.

Red Hat could well change that. The company achieved a milestone earlier this year when it crossed the US$2 billion in revenue.

The technology space is different these days, given the way Microsoft is falling over backwards to try and spread the message that it is friendly to open source.

It has tied up with many open source companies, Red Hat included, in a bid to have their technology run on its Azure cloud platform.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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