White House wants agencies to open source their code

Federal agencies would also swap code with each other

The Capitol Building

The US government is deepening its commitment to open source principles, proposing that federal agencies share software tools and release their code to developers.

By the start of July, all federal agencies will be required to release at least 20 per cent of the software they have had specially developed.

While 20 per cent is the minimum requirement, agencies are "strongly encouraged to publish as much custom-developed code as possible to further the Federal Government's commitment to transparency, participation, and collaboration".

"This collaborative atmosphere makes it easier to conduct software peer review and security testing, to reuse existing solutions, and to share technical knowledge," the paper, titled Federal Source Code Policy - Achieving Efficiency, Transparency, and Innovation through Reusable and Open Source Software, read.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

The proposals refer to third-party code, as software developed in-house is designated as public domain by default.

The government is also attempting to encourage greater collaboration between agencies, by making them share software with each other. The policy is intended to eliminate some of the federal government's $9 billion annual software spend.

Under the new proposal, agencies will require the delivery of the full source code - as well as all documentation and distribution rights - for any software it commissions, which can then be re-used across the federal government.

"Enhanced reuse of custom-developed code across the federal government," the report read, "such as reducing federal vendor lock-in, decreasing duplicative costs for the same code, [and] increasing transparency across the federal government."

Agencies will also be required to limit the amount of custom code purchased, by following a three-step plan when looking at their software needs.

This plan involves examining existing government software and pre-built commercial packages as potential alternatives to custom code, as well as looking at cloud computing solutions.

Advertisement - Article continues below

In order to help federal agencies adopt the new practices, the government will be establishing a repository of tools and resources - dubbed 'Project Open Source' - within the next three months.

Naturally, some tools and agencies - primarily those relating to national security - will be exempt from the new policy.

Featured Resources

What you need to know about migrating to SAP S/4HANA

Factors to assess how and when to begin migration

Download now

Your enterprise cloud solutions guide

Infrastructure designed to meet your company's IT needs for next-generation cloud applications

Download now

Testing for compliance just became easier

How you can use technology to ensure compliance in your organisation

Download now

Best practices for implementing security awareness training

How to develop a security awareness programme that will actually change behaviour

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/government-it-strategy/28305/ir35-news
Policy & legislation

Government announces review of IR35 off-payroll changes

8 Jan 2020
Visit/operating-systems/28025/best-linux-distros-2019-the-finest-open-source-operating-systems-around
operating systems

Best Linux distros 2019

24 Dec 2019
Visit/cloud/33999/ibm-doubles-down-on-red-hat-independence
Cloud

IBM doubles down on Red Hat independence

10 Jul 2019
Visit/policy-legislation/33757/us-demands-social-media-details-from-visa-applicants
Policy & legislation

US demands social media details from visa applicants

3 Jun 2019

Most Popular

Visit/policy-legislation/data-governance/354496/brexit-security-talks-under-threat-after-uk-accused-of
data governance

Brexit security talks under threat after UK accused of illegally copying Schengen data

10 Jan 2020
Visit/security/cyber-security/354468/if-not-passwords-then-what
cyber security

If not passwords then what?

8 Jan 2020
Visit/policy-legislation/31772/gdpr-and-brexit-how-will-one-affect-the-other
Policy & legislation

GDPR and Brexit: How will one affect the other?

9 Jan 2020
Visit/web-browser/30394/what-is-http-error-503-and-how-do-you-fix-it
web browser

What is HTTP error 503 and how do you fix it?

7 Jan 2020