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US Government Successfully Issues Contract For Open Source Code... For $1

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One of my very first jobs in Silicon Valley was to try to help an internet startup get a big juicy contract with the US government (specifically the Department of Defense). The whole process was a disaster of epic proportions, in which I learned a ridiculous amount about government procurement, none of it good. At one point, I believe the company I worked for was paying a 5-figure-per-month "retainer" to an ex-high ranking military guy, mainly so that he would go out and drink a lot of bourbon with his DoD buddies and award us a no-bid contract before anyone realized it should be put out to bid. And, of course, as an internet startup, we didn't have a GSA contract, and had to find a sham "partner" who would officially get the contract, under which we'd be a subcontractor. And, of course, we were asking for millions of dollars in government cash, and the technology we had in place wasn't anything like what the DoD was actually looking for. In short, the whole thing was a complete mess. That was two decades ago, so I'd hope that things had changed, but we've heard so many stories of the ridiculousness of government procurement, that I doubt it's changed that much.

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