The public launch of the National Center for Open Source Policy and Research (NCOSPR) was recently announced during a presentation at the Government Open Source Conference (GOSCON) hosted by the Oregon State University's Open Source Lab in Portland, Oregon.

The National Center for Open Source Policy and Research (www.ncospr.org) is a non-profit organization established to promote the use of open source software solutions within government IT enterprise environments for the benefit of government agencies, the general public and public sector entities. NCOSPR will accomplish this by serving as a facilitator and administrator of development and implementation services among government, academic, open source community and information technology (IT) industry developer, distribution and user communities.

The National Center consists of three (3) core component entities: a National Open Source Resource Center; an academic Open Source Center of Excellence; and an Open Source Public Policy Institute.

As a National Open Source Resource Center, NCOSPR's mandate is to serve the public by helping to identify the "common technical needs" within government agencies and bring to bear the resources, applications and expertise of the IT industry and independent open source development communities to meet these needs. The adoption of open source promotes interoperability, standardization, extension of product life cycle, best business practices, and provides leverage in acquisition practices that are currently unimagined in the world of proprietary licenses, vendor lock-in and single-use development practices.

As an academic Center of Excellence, NCOSPR challenges the bounds of research and development in order to advance the existing body of knowledge and technical skill within the IT, academic and government communities. NCOSPR's mandate is to reach out to every corner of the academic community to draft and train the next generation of IT professionals and researchers in order to promote advanced education and economic development.

And as an Open Source Public Policy Institute, NCOSPR's mandate is to recruit experienced and innovative thinkers to help craft development, implementation and acquisition policies that will facilitate the continual adoption and growth of open source within the public sector IT communities.

The National Center will be administered by the Open Source Software Institute and hosted by the University of Southern Mississippi. NCOSPR's administrative offices are located at the University's main campus in Hattiesburg, MS and technical offices located at the University's satellite campus at the John C. Stennis Space Center on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Additional satellite and affiliate branches will be established on-site at participating government, academic and industry partner locations.

The National Center will be funded by public grants, public and private donations and through development and support projects performed for participating government entities.