New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Capital New York Council, administration discuss open source software potential by Miranda Neubauer

Council, administration discuss open source software potential


The Committee on Contracts was discussing two pieces of legislation introduced by Councilman Ben Kallos. One would require city officials to develop a plan to minimize the amount of proprietary software the city purchases in favor of free and open-source software. The other would require the mayor to designate an agency to develop a plan to coordinate the purchase of software with other jurisdictions and require the designated agency to create a website with information about the software.

Kallos said the use of open source software makes it possible for the city to more easily modify software code for its own purposes. He cited a repeated Independent Budget Office analysis in the past few years that said the use of open-source software could eventually save the city $25 million by no longer having to repeatedly renew software licenses that contribute to the city's $80 million overall expenditure on software.



Various advocacy and civic technology representatives and organizations testified in support of the bill, including the Free Software Foundation, the Open Source Institute, Common Cause, the Participatory Politics Foundation, Beta NYC and the Software Freedom Conservancy, invoking examples with both local and wider resonance.


"We need the internet as a collective .... to come out, advocate, let the mayor, let the Council .... know that this is something they want to see the city lead the nation on," Kallos said after the hearing.


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