US Department of Defense Finally Adopts Open Source

February 2nd, 2009 at 12:00 am
 


At last, the United States Department of Defense (DoD) takes a definite step in the right direction. It is official, the DoD adopts open source. Forge.mil is the proof. Owned by SourceForge.com, this new site will function as a storehouse for defense-related open source software.

Currently, there are three projects on Forge.mil. The aim of the Bastille project is to help in automating server configuration. The other two projects are aimed at automating Solaris systems’ secure configuration and managing requests for proposal, respectively. There will be around 20 projects on Forge.mil in the next six months, as predicted by DoD administrators.

The move from open source consideration to adoption is definitely an incredible development as it undeniably validates the legitimacy and authority of the open source framework. For the longest time, the department has ridden on open source adoption. According to Brig. Gen. Nickolas Justice, "Open-source software is part of the integrated network fabric which connects and enables our command and control system to work effectively, as people’s lives depend on it."

Those who have a DoD, External Certification Authority (ECA), or Common Access Card (CAC) certificate can join the site. A Slashdot writer claims that any person can access the code on the site, although there is no validation to this statement. This could be a major problem. Currently, Forge.mil only contains information but no code, and many people wonder whethet it is still considered an open source if they do not have access to the code. Or is the DoD exploiting the nature of open source?

The success of the open source adoption depends on President Barack Obama. Given his promise of an open government, Americans could enjoy its government-wide implementation and the DoD using open source for defense software.