Department of Defense (DoD) is #1 using Open Source for Govt

“Open Source for America (OSFA) recently published a report card on open technology and open government across several U.S. federal government departments and agencies. The results: One-third of agencies received a passing grade. OSFA, a coalition launched in July 2009 to encourage U.S. federal government support of and participation in open source projects and technologies, worked with government departments and agencies to develop the methodology and rate each group.”

Who’s the winner? The Department of Defense. It seems that the Department of Defense (DoD) achieved the highest ranking, with a score of 23 out of a possible 28, and stands out in the report card for several reasons:

  1. First, the DoD has documented policies for selecting and acquiring what the report identifies as open technologies.
  2. Second, the DoD provides guidance for employees wanting to participate in open source projects.

“IT decision makers are encouraged to follow in the DoD’s example and set a policy, along with related processes and safeguards, for employees to contribute to open source projects…Doing so will keep your developers happy and help encourage innovation, within and outside of your company — a win-win-win strategy.”

I believe open source is definitively “Agile.”

What say you?

[HT: InfoWorld]

14 Replies to “Department of Defense (DoD) is #1 using Open Source for Govt”

  1. Oh yes, Open Source + Agile rules!
    Regarding the DoD + FOSS question, some armed forces around the Globe has their own Linux distribution, they use what is ordinary for free, while take care of specific security-related parts. I know of the Chinese and some Brazilian efforts towards this.

  2. Open Source is generally based on the premise that those who work on the software get to decide what features to implement, bugs to fix, and in what order this all happens. Agile is based on the premise that the customer gets to set such priorities. So, in this regard, Open Source is definitely not Agile.

    1. That would assume that the customer is (outside) of the development team.
      Would it not be possible for a small technology startup to have the developers be their own customer as they build?

      I would say that it may not be the most accurate statement to say that Agile (assumes) the customer is (always) outside of the development team.

      Thanks for the input Scott!

      1. Were that assumption not the case, then aspects of the Manifesto and associated Principles would likely not have to have been stated such as daily contact between customer and developer.

  3. They (the DoD) are probably buying RHEL5 (or that even older derrivative with the enhanced security features) and the support contract. I know for a fact that you can only use software that: a) has a license available for purchase, and b) has a yearly support contract available for purchase.

    This makes conversations about Qt, SVN, doxygen, boost, etc (you know that FOSS stuff) rather challenging. If you don’t buy it, it must be “shareware” and that is not allowed.

    Heck, even pressing the F5 key in Visual Studio is technically not allowed either.

    I’ve never seen agile anywhere. I’ve only heard of it being used as an example of why projects fail.

    Sorry to smash your hopes.


    1. “Tread lightly… you’re treading on my dreams…” MAN! Sorry to hear that news. To be honest, I haven’t heard of a lot of open source stuff. I guess the community knows better!

      1. I’m sure (and I hope) that everyone’s mileage varies. It’s a big organization, so maybe someone is having more luck.

        I tend to draw a parallel between how successful individuals create software and agile practice (I did qualify that with “successful”). My overly simplified way of advocating agile is that it attempts to scale the success of an individual to a larger project and to a team, so there are additional communication channels and other artifacts that are necessary so that the team can function effectively.

        I certainly see people around me who are “successful” at producing software, so I think agile “exists” in that respect. But no one calls it that. I’m hoping that the PMI’s new agile cert and some meshing with SEI/CMM practice can help us win the day, eventually.


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