San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom today announced the first municipal policy for open source software in the U.S. As part of the city’s “Open SF” project, San Francisco municipal agencies will consider open source software equally alongside proprietary software when making any purchasing decisions over $100,000. The Software Evaluation Policy will require departments to consider open source alternatives, when available, on an equal basis to commercial software, as these may reduce cost and speed the time needed to bring software applications to production.

“Open source software is created by the people for the people and as such is ideal for government,” Newsom wrote today in a guest post in Mashable.

“We can and must do more in the face of historic budget deficits,” Newsom wrote. “Our new open source policy requires the City to choose new technology wisely."

I’ve written before about the obstacles blocking the way to government adoption of open source software. There’s a long way to before open source is given the same status as proprietary software in government procurement, but San Francisco’s choice may be one that other local governments follow.

By Mark Alvarez