Talend, a global open source software leader, announced today it has received a favorable advisory ruling from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency around the government's ability to purchase open source software. The CBP has determined that software products are compliant with the Trade Agreement Act (TAA) when that software is manufactured in a designated country through numerous, complex and significant activities including key product research, writing the specification and architecture, and the actual software build – even if the majority of its source code was created in a non-designated country.
Virtually every country addresses rules around how its government entities can procure goods and services, but the U.S. has particularly complex and unique laws in this area. While governments around the world have been moving to embrace open source for a long time, adoption has been slow and inconsistent in the U.S., though it is steadily growing as more federal agencies revise their guidelines and regulations, and some states pass laws requiring the consideration of open source options.
"The Talend Ruling is significant because government users now have useful guidance specifically addressing open source software that is developed and substantially transformed in a designated country, but also includes, or is based upon, source code from a non-designated country," said Fern Lavallee, DLA Piper LLP (US), counsel to Talend. "Federal Agencies can now purchase open source software products like Talend software based on its true technical merits, including ease of use, flexibility, robust documentation and data components and its substantial life-cycle cost advantages, while also having complete confidence in the product’s full compliance with threshold requirements like the TAA. The timing of this Ruling is right given the Department of Defense’s well publicized attention and commitment to Better Buying Power and DoD’s recent Open Systems Architecture initiative."
“Country of Origin” issues sometimes have been used as a pretext to make a case against the procurement of open source software. Talend conducts the vast majority of its software production in the U.S., France or Germany, and offers an industry-leading warranty for its products. But like many manufacturers of industry-leading, high-quality and reliable products, Talend seeks the best and most efficient talent available in the marketplace, which can at times fall outside those working in "designated countries" by the U.S.
"This is great news for everyone in the software industry," said Bertrand Diard, co-founder and CEO of Talend. "While the news is significant for Talend and offers an opportunity for us to address needs in the Federal space, our belief is that many software vendors – whether they are open source-based or not – will benefit from the ruling."
A copy of the advisory ruling can be obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is currently and significantly revising the December 2011 draft of the “DoD Open Systems Architecture, Contract Guidebook for Program Managers.” This comprehensive guidance document is specifically intended to be used by DoD Program Managers who are incorporating Open System Architecture principles into National Security Systems. The guide is currently expected to be released by the end of this calendar year.