US DOD guidance on open source surprisingly correct

I always surprises me what people think open source means and what impact it has on their organization: Open Source means gratis software. Open Source is made by hobbyist. Open Source is unfinished because it doesn’t have a 1.0 version. We can only use the binaries released by the Open Source organization.

Imagine my surprise when i read the US DOD guidance on OSS (thx powdermonkey). Here are some points discussed in the guidance.

In almost all cases, OSS meets the definition of “commercial computer software”

Very important for organizations to understand: most OSS is created by professional programmers employed by commercial organizations. Using opensource is in many cases just a different way to meet your business targets.

By sharing the responsibility for maintenance of OSS with other users, the Department can benefit by reducing the total cost of ownership for software…

It’s rare that companies actually consider giving back to open source. Sharing the responsibility for maintenance is usually not on the agenda, just consuming gratis software.

There is a misconception that the Government is always obligated to distribute the source code of any modified OSS to the public, and therefore that OSS should not be integrated or modified for use in classified or other sensitive DoD systems. In contrast, many open source licenses permit the user to modify OSS for internal use without being obligated to distribute source code to the public.

There are a many different licenses, and many different usage forms of software. It’s important to know what you can and cannot do with the software.

Good to see an open source guidance without FUD.

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