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FCW : December 2013
As far as technology trends in the fed- eral government go, open source is on a multiyear hot streak. Alongside movements such as cloud computing, open-source technology promises to save money and improve ef ciencies, making it an oasis, or perhaps a mirage, in a funding desert. At the Defense Department, the incorporation of open-source technol- ogy has happened more slowly than at other agencies. DOD decision-makers find it difficult to consider opening something as sensitive as intelligence software to the general public. But that is exactly what is beginning to happen as the need to cut costs, share information and expand capabili- ties more quickly pushes the military toward solutions where the community, not the contractor, is the key partner. "The problem with proprietary solu- tions is the limited set of folks who can use them, rather than opening the core components to the community to drive...and just be the experts and the integrators," said Andy Good- son, program manager for Lockheed Martin s newly opened Distributed Has open source of cially taken off at DOD? in damages is being sought by TechAmerica in its suit against the IT Industry Council. $5M Trending Data Framework for intelligence information. The military s Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS) relies on DDF for real-time sharing of mission data in combat, and it was previously available only to DOD users. Lockheed Martin recently donated DDF s source code to the Codice Foundation, a nonpro t organization that supports open-source projects in government. The founda- tion opened the system to U.S. partners and other users who otherwise would have had to buy commercial software licenses. "It used to take months and millions of dollars to make security changes," Goodson said, but open source facili- tates quick fixes, which means the military can more rapidly respond to requests from the eld for changes. It also means more mission-related infor- mation can be shared among coalition partners. But not everyone believes open source should be the go-to solution at DOD. Oracle, a major producer of proprietary software, published a white paper in October that warned of the drawbacks of open source: "Perhaps the most important issue in a major DOD system is reliability, which includes the ability to scale under heavy load as well as a system s security and information-assurance features. Testing and certi cation of an end-to-end solu- tion can be extraordinarily expensive, especially if that system is changed frequently. Commercial software com- panies have developed highly re ned methodologies to perform these tasks." Nevertheless, others argue that the need for open-source technology will continue to grow. "For government, the pressures for change are especially dif- cult with declining revenues brought on by the Great Recession, indiscrimi- nate cuts due to sequestration, man- dates for data center consolidation and the need to move to newer low-cost cloud platforms," wrote Ed Boyajian, president and CEO of EnterpriseDB, in a Nov. 12 "SiliconAngle" blog post. The bottom line is that government agen- cies have to adopt paradigm-changing solutions that open source delivers to meet these challenges." --- Amber Corrin December 2013 FCW.COM 3 FCW CALENDAR IT acquisition Marina Martin, the Department of Veterans Affairs chief technology of cer, is among the agency speakers at this AFFIRM lunch discussion on IT acquisition s shifting priorities and the budget trends for 2014. Washington, D.C. http://is.gd/zikuge Cloud computing The National Institute of Standards and Technology hosts an industry day to discuss the opportunities and challenges of cloud computing for federal agencies. Gaithersburg, Md. http://is.gd/vizage 12/18 NOMINATIONS NOW OPEN FCW s Federal 100 awards program offers the best opportunity to honor federal IT s top performers in government and industry. Submit nominations at FCW.com/fed100 by Dec. 23. 12/16
November 30, 2013