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FCW : September 30, 2014
September 30, 2014 FCW.COM 19 vices, such as portals, websites and mobile applications," he said. CloudBees offers a platform-as-a- service tool for building, running and managing Web and mobile applications. The company strengthened its position in the government market by striking an alliance with DLT Solutions in July. The arrangement lets CloudBees tap DLT s government customer base and contracts. DLT s vehicles include DOD Enter- prise Software Initiative contracts, General Services Administration con- tracts, and BPAs at NASA and the Navy, among other agencies. "Government agencies face the same challenge common in the private sec- tor: the need to accelerate application development and deployment, to solve business problems and better serve their constituents," said Mike Lambert, CloudBees vice president of sales for the Americas. The open-source Docker project, meanwhile, could make it easier for agency IT managers to deploy appli- cations in the cloud. The platform con- tainerizes applications so they are more readily deployable across different IT environments, whether in the cloud or in the data center. In April, open-source IT consulting rm Vizuri announced a partnership with Docker that could give the open- source technology a wider government outlet. Vizuri s parent company, Applied Engineering Management Corp., has contracts under GSA s Schedule 70, GSA s Mission-Oriented Business Integrated Services and the Navy s SeaPort-e. Mobile technology Companies such as Digital Management Inc. and NC4 seek to push mobile tech- nology as they grow their businesses. DMI, which focuses on mobile enter- prise solutions, recently announced that it has been placed on GSA s $50 billion Alliant governmentwide acqui- sition contract for large businesses after already participating in the Alli- ant Small Business vehicle. In addition, DMI recently obtained prime contracts with the Agriculture Department and the Defense Information Systems Agency. The DISA and USDA contracts, both for mobile device management, make DMI the largest provider of mobility services to the federal government, according to the company. "We nd our government clients are increasingly turning to mobile solutions to enable them to effectively engage with citizens and more efficiently achieve their missions," said DMI Presi- dent and CEO Sunny Bajaj. Other DMI projects include an IT service desk support contract with the State Department, a continuous moni- backed by a company or organization can be a good indicator of quality and stabil- ity, but rst take a look at the author s other work. Does he or she understand open source or is this simply an effort to generate good will toward his or her brand? On GitHub, the owner s name precedes the project name in the URL. Simply drop the project name to see what else the developer is working on. 6 Number of contributors. Is the project a solo act or a team effort? Having a long tail of contributors indi- cates that there is a community of users who rely on and care about improving the software. Contributors need not be only technical. Look at those contributing to documentation, posting in the sup- port forums, or ling issues and feature requests. Look closely at the community s values and how it makes decisions. 7 Who else uses it? There are lots of open-source projects that can meet the above criteria, but if none of your peers is using the project (or worse, have not even heard of it), that could be a major red ag. Many companies proudly showcase their open-source projects, and Google searches can often reveal those that don t. 8 License. Is the project properly licensed? Does it contain a license le or just a reference to a license in the read- me.txt le? Do les contain the proper headings where required? The strictness with which the software is licensed and the type of license used can indicate how familiar the publisher is with open source and how serious he or she is about pro- viding you with unburdened intellectual property. Most important, make sure the license is compatible with your project and goals. 9 The code itself. Nothing beats a technical expert opening the hood and poking around. Did the developer follow the language s common conventions and design patterns? Did he or she use a framework or build everything from scratch? Did he or she use a package manager? Even if you re not a developer, take note of whether comments are clear and free of misspellings and whether the project includes extensive tests. Projects get bonus points for using a continuous integration platform such as Travis CI, which shows a commitment to releasing quality software. Remember: Software is written by humans for humans. When in doubt, ask. Developers want you to use their software and will be glad to help. Open an issue requesting information on the project purpose and status. Ask ques- tions such as: Is it a fun hobby or will it be around in a year? Who else is using it? Should I base my business or critical mis- sion on this? There s good software and there s bad software, and luckily, open source pro- vides us with a handful of built-in metrics to gauge a project s quality and longev- ity, even without reading a single line of code. Before bringing open-source code into your next project, if you don t know the author, be sure to take a closer look. Ben Balter is GitHub's government evangelist.
September 15, 2014