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Kit Plummer
Software Engineer :: Techitect :: Evangelist
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Military Open Source Software

Sitting at Day Two of the inaugural Mil-OSS Working Group event at Georgia Tech Research Institute’s facilities. First day was good, but I can’t help but feel like we’ve not made much progress over the past few years. I suppose my attitude of “just do open source” hasn’t helped this much. But honestly, I’m not up for COTS vs OSS vs GOTS discussions, or diving into the details of the GPL – we really should be past that by now. I do realize that this stuff is really complex. Complexity overwhelms in both the political and technical details of how contracts and programs are managed. Hopefully the Mil-OSS group will begin to capture these discussions in a FAQ or something similar so we don’t digress.

Something else that is apparent, is that we, as contractors, are continuously looking for approval to do open source. Sure, contracts are littered with legalese precluding a maverick approach. But, what’s wrong with just working with your customer to figure out how to do it. Keep in mind, that I’m not just referring to “opening” entire programs (of record) worth of source. Just use common sense. If you can contribute to projects that already exist, which you are using – or have the need to extend/adapt an existing project – just open it. If there are IP concerns – be smart in your architecture as to not wrap it up inside code that could be opened.

Good to know that there is movement at the DoD CIO office with Dan Risacher, a smart guy for sure. I’ll be eagerly waiting for updated policies, but will continue to work with our customers directly to maximize the value of doing open source work.

How about bringing the DoD, and it’s requirements to the OSS community, rather than the other way around? Just a thought.

[Big thanks to the GTRI crew for hosting the Mil-OSS event!] Thanks specifically to Joshua Davis for herding us cats, and pushing us in the right direction. Also, thanks to all those that took time out to participate – it shows that we’re on to something. ;)

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