Since the 2009 OSD memorandum supporting open source software, DOD has been making strides in the use of OSS, but there is a long way to go. NSA and GSA have been leading the way in certifying systems.
In 2011, GSA awarded Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) certification to Amazon Web Services (AWS). Many federal agencies stipulate FISMA certification as a requirement for their IT solutions. AWS’s hosted storage and computing products have achieved moderate authorization and accreditation ensuring their solutions can meet the security needs of the federal government.

As open source software gains momentum within DOD and Federal Government, we are seeing some big results:

  • US Army is using OSS for tactical battle systems
  • FAA is using OSS to monitor planes in flight
  • National Weather Service is using OSS to track hurricanes

Open source is also a growing trend in the cloud, big data, and now mobile apps. This is good news for both the government and the open source community.

If you are looking to dive deeper into open source, you may want to try joining an online open source community. A number of open source communities have sprung up where the public and private sector are partnering around a specific area of interest including security, system compliance management, and content management.

  • Government CybersecurityThe mission of the Homeland Open Security Technology (HOST) program is to investigate open security methods, models and technologies and identify viable and sustainable approaches that support national cyber security objectives. The foundational technology for the purposes of HOST is based on open source software.
  • Aqueduct Project – Systems management compliance community for the government.
  • SCAP Security Guide Guidance, baselines, and associated validation mechanisms utilizing the Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP).
  • Mil-OSS  Grass roots organization connecting civilian and military users of OSS.
  • Drupal4Gov  Grass roots organization focused on connecting government and content management solutions.
  • Open Stack (led by NASA)  OpenStack is an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud computing project started by Rackspace Cloud and NASA in 2010. Currently more than 150 companies have joined the project among which are AMD, Intel, Canonical, SUSE Linux, Red Hat, Cisco, Dell, HP, IBM and Yahoo. It is free open source software released under the terms of the Apache License. OpenStack integrates code from NASA’s Nebula platform as well as Rackspace’s Cloud Files platform, and is included and released in both the Ubuntu and Red Hat Linux distributions.

In Part 4 of our blog series, I will explore the government opportunity gap and where we should go from here with OSS.



This is the third in my four-part series: The Open Source Advantage.

Missed a post in the Open Source Advantage series? Check out Part 1: Introduction to OSS, and Part 2: OSS and Cost Savings. Don’t miss out again! Subscribe to the Partnet blog to receive an email when we post new material.