November 8, 2011 AT 8:16 am

Is Open Source Up to Par? Just Ask the DoD


Is Open Source Up to Par? Just Ask the DoD @ PCWorld Business Center.

Last week provided a significant boost to open source software in the form of survey results suggesting that such technologies have now become a norm in the business world. Now, in what’s perhaps an even bigger blow to proprietary vendors, none other than the Department of Defense has weighed in with its own support for open technology.

Specifically, the DoD last week released a 68-page guide entitled, “Open Technology Development: Lessons Learned and Best Practices for Military Software (PDF),” in which it seeks to “help U.S. government personnel and contractors implement open technology development (OTD) for software within government projects, particularly in defense.”

Noting software’s central importance in the way “the warfighter conducts missions” today, the document notes that “DoD must have software that is easily adaptable to changing mission needs and can be evolved rapidly and delivered quickly at lower costs to meet mission requirements in a timely manner.”

And that’s just software, wait until open-source hardware is thought of in the same way…

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  1. This is just the most current version of this document. The earliest version I can find dates back to 2006 and is a roadway for future use. http://www.acq.osd.mil/jctd/articles/otdroadmapfinal.pdf

  2. As a DoD employee, I can say this isn’t new by any means. But the reasons for going open source is mainly for security. DoD has requirements that source be inspected before the software is approved for use. The proprietary vendors aren’t always too willing to hand over there entire source code base. The second main reason is DoD engineers don’t like getting tied to a vendor for updates and support.

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