U.S. Navy Clarifies Stance On Open Source Software
Engineers have been bypassing open source software — such as the Linux operating system — due to confusion over its classification.
The CIO of the U.S. Navy says naval technology managers have not been giving due consideration to the use of open source software in business and weapons systems due to confusion over its classification. In building systems for the Navy, engineers can use what’s called GOTS or COTS — government off-the-shelf-software or commercial off-the-shelf software.
Because open source software — such as the Linux operating system — fits neither definition, engineers have been bypassing it, says Navy CIO Robert Carey, in a memo dated June 5.
To resolve the issue, Carey has ordered technology managers at the Department of The Navy (DON) to classify open source software as commercial. “DON commands will treat OSS [open source software] as COTS when it meets the definition of a commercial item,” Carey wrote in the memo, which lays out additional requirements that open source programs must meet to merit Naval consideration.
A copy of the memo is posted on a Web site maintained by the Open Source Software Institute–a non-profit group comprising government, academic and commercial representatives that aim to promote the use of open source software in the public sector.
In the memo, Carey says he hopes the clarification will boost the adoption of open source software within the Navy and notes that he “recognizes the importance of OSS to the warfighter and the need to leverage its benefits throughout the DON.”
Increased use of open source software by the Navy could put it at odds with Microsoft.
Read more: InformationWeek