The DoD

The US Department of Defense. UU. It is not turning its back on open source, but it is becoming smarter about it.


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Do you remember when governments were excited to demand the adoption of open source? That was a bad policy in 2009 when I criticized, and now it is an equally bad policy. It seems great that governments want to claim their sovereignty from private corporations (with software licenses), as the City of Barcelona recently announced that it would, but problems arise when good intentions (more open source!) Collide with the reality of An organization real requirements.

Just ask the United States Department of Defense (DoD).

SEE: Open source champion Munich returns to Windows (Free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Faster and faster

The Department of Defense has long defended open source. A decade ago, the DoD established guidelines that observed that open source would be superior to proprietary software in some use cases. Perhaps in response, open source spread throughout the Department of Defense. Even so, in 2016 an analyst declared that it was not enough and that "the Department of Defense must overcome bureaucratic obstacles and adopt open source software as a critical element of its efforts to maintain military technical superiority in the 21st century."

In 2017, he answered the call.

Two years ago, the Department of Defense launched its defense of feeling good about a plan (under section 886 of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2018) that required any unclassified and personalized development. The software created six months after the approval of the section will be open source. There were ways to circumvent the requirement, but mostly it got stuck.

More or less.


Fast forward to 2019 and FCW, which covers federal technology trends, offered this headline: "DoD rejects open source." That? The Department of Defense, which has always advocated for greater open source adoption, is receding?

As described in a September 10 report from the Government Accountability Office (PDF), the Department of Defense has not met the requirements of section 886: An open source policy has not been issued, and only half measures have been tried in other commitments (for example, analyze their use of open source). Why? Well, according to DoD CIO Dana Deasy (cited in the FCW article), it is not clear that the open source pilot program "is implementable … as proposed". More fundamentally, Deasy emphasized that most of the DoD's custom software (which would need to be open source according to section 886) "is created for weapon systems such as the F-35 and F-22, and as such, the release of said source code is sensitive for national security reasons. "

The key point? "It is not clear that 20% of the Department's custom code is released."

SEE: Mastermind scammer behind Catch Me If You Can talks about cybersecurity (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

In other words, the Department of Defense is exercising common sense, rather than being forced into an open source policy driven by happy thoughts about sharing. As the analyst Simon Wardley pointed out, "I cannot emphasize enough the importance of & # 39; open thinking & # 39; about & # 39; open by default & # 39; … open is a weapon, look before shooting. "

Open source, in other words, should be at the center of a reflexive IT strategy, not treated as a magical and moral imperative. Should the government have a preference for open source? This seems reasonable. Should I have a mandate for open source? That seems less.

See also

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