The Department of Defense report on open source is called Lessons Learned but here it is in a nutshell:
Shared infrastructure makes everyone better.
Shared infrastructure is not inconsistent with the contracting mindset.
Shared infrastructure delivers both security and savings.
The report, taken in its entirety, is a very big deal, because Defense contracting is such a huge business, and because it's where closed source has taken such a dogged stand.
And that second conclusion, that open source and contracting can mix, may be the most important.
Even though it may use an open source process for developing, say, security software, doesn't mean that Secretary of Defense Gates is going over the Github for a .tar ball. He's going to continue using the same contracting process as before, choosing among competitive vendors.
But those vendors will have all shared in the fruits of an open source process, they will all be starting from the same shared store, meaning contractors will continue to have choices no matter how complex the stuff gets.
It's interesting that the report comes out just a few days after a European report attacked open source as offering no savings or compatibility. It's still possible for politicians to look at the checks closed source companies may write them and dance to the tune of that money, but military planners are awash in cash, and are always focused on the mission. It's that mission focus that gets them the cash. They have to deliver.
So while we can't say that open source is now going to take over the government, this is a turning point, much more important than the election in NY-26. Politicians come and go. Bureaucracy is forever. The military bureaucracy is the largest, most powerful bureaucracy in the world, and that bureaucracy has now spoken loud and clear.
Open source works. Shared software infrastructure works. No amount of FUD is going to change that view. And this is going to inform an increasing number of government decisions going forward.