US Department of Defense backs open source software

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US Department of Defense backs open source software

Warwick Ashford

The US Department of Defense has backed the use of more open source software to boost its software development capability.

Open source software enables the Department of Defense to develop its software capabilities faster to anticipate new threats and respond to constantly changing requirements, David Wennergren, chief information officer at the Department of Defense said in a memo.

The memo, issued this week, contains a set of guidelines aimed at clarifying "misconceptions" about the use of open source software in the Department of Defense, according to reports.

The guidelines include considering open source software in almost all cases as "commercial computer software" when conducting market research for new products.

The memo lists the benefits of open source software as lower total cost of ownership, reliability supported by peer review, the ability to modify source code as needed, and the ability to "test drive" the software with minimal costs and administrative delays.

The memo also clarifies the misconception that changes made to code had to be released. The memo said that such changes have to be released only if the program is publicly distributed.


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