Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New Open Source Software guidance from the DoD

There are a few articles out there offering commentary regarding the new Department of Defense memo that gives guidance regarding Open Source Software, and how the DoD can and should participate in the Open Source community.
Need a quick tutorial on what Open Source is? Try here. The short version: the source code for software is made available to developers and consumers to tweak and improve as they see fit, with the understanding that improvements, modifications and interractive applications will also be available, for free, to anyone who wants to use/modify it.
What does this have to do with libraries? It provides new opportunities to experience and contribute to the development of software to better suited to specific needs. In many cases, software is developed in a vacuum, where software engineers diligently attempt to guess at what users will need. Open Source Software tends to develop a bit more organically, with an easier mechanism for the integration of feedback. This new guidance could lead to software that more readily fits existing needs, without the lag time usually associated with development.
For some more information and commentary, check out: http://opensource.sys-con.com/node/1161812 http://powdermonkey.blogs.com/powdermonkey/2009/10/department-of-defense-new-guidance-on-open-source-software.html (Both link to the memo talked about here)

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