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Government Open Source Software The Almighty Buck United States IT Politics

Obama Administration Supports Recycling Code and Open Source 100

jones_supa writes: The Obama administration is seeking public comments on its open source policy. They have released for public comment a draft Federal Source Code policy to support improved access to custom software code. From the policy document: "This policy requires that, among other things: (1) new custom code whose development is paid for by the Federal Government be made available for reuse across Federal agencies; and (2) a portion of that new custom code be released to the public as Open Source Software (OSS)." Tony Scott, Federal CIO of the US government, mentioned one of the strengths of open source – cost saving. Scott wrote on the White House blog that the U.S. government "can save taxpayer dollars by avoiding duplicative custom software purchases and promote innovation and collaboration across Federal agencies."
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Obama Administration Supports Recycling Code and Open Source

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 14, 2016 @09:22AM (#51692895)

    ... which means that, by definition, it cannot support open source software. []

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I'm not sure where you are getting your definition from, but as long as the backdoor is open source, I don't see any conflict here.
      • Having the code for the back door open to the public is like giving away keys to anyone and everyone who wants it. It would render any encryption useless.

        However, I think the OP is confused about things a little. Obama is pushing for private companies to install back doors so the government can spy on you. This article is about the source code for publicly funded software being open. Your phone is not government funded software so that's actually two different things.

        • by Bert64 ( 520050 )

          No it wouldn't...
          You can release the code, while not releasing the keys. It would be quite easy to create a system with a default SSH public key such that anyone with the private key could log in, without having to release the private key. Of course such a backdoor would be obvious and quickly found, and people would surely remove or change the public key if they were using it themselves but it wouldn't help anyone else to actually gain access unless they were to also leak the private key.

          Most encryption al

          • By definition, a back door lets you get access to the encryption without having the key. So not releasing the keys is irrelevant.
            • by Bert64 ( 520050 )

              No a backdoor just gives you access via a method other than the publicly disclosed one. A backdoored encryption where there are two keys just means that you need one of the two keys, it's quite possible to publish the source code without publishing the backdoor key, and equally possible for anyone with the source to remove or change the backdoor.

        • Right. The Obama administration wants the model to generally be proprietary and closed, except open to the government. They don't want everything to be open. They want it closed to everyone but them.

    • ... which means that, by definition, it cannot support open source software. []

      +4 Insightful? Look, government's position on backdoors is fundamentally wrong, as almost everyone who works in tech knows and almost nobody who works outside of tech understands or cares about. But that debate has nothing to do with open source.

      The United States Government is the biggest purchaser on the planet, and we pay their bills. If they want to recycle code across their organization to save us money, great. If they want to open-source their unclassified software, great.

    • If done in the full spirit of the summary, would that not create a mono culture of code that makes vulnerabilities available everywhere instead of just the agency in which it was developed?

  • by vvaduva ( 859950 ) on Monday March 14, 2016 @09:24AM (#51692903)

    Yes, they support recycling code...old code..related to encryption.

    • by Desler ( 1608317 )

      The weaker the chiphers the better. Because, you know, pedophiles and stuff.

      • Because you know pedophiles are going to use any of the hundreds of 3rd part apps to encrypt all there communications, i.e. the ones that Apple can't help at all to decrypt... or were you being sarcastic in the first place?
  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Monday March 14, 2016 @09:30AM (#51692925) Homepage
    Sasha: Im all done with my loop, can I return to main()?
    Barack: Now, sasha, what did i say about recycling code? check with Malia and see if you can use data from her constructor instead?
    Malia: My constructor doesnt handle 32 bit integers, only 64. Sasha wont redo her booleans.
    Michelle Barack: And for god sake use a pointer. we're not made of address space you know...
    Sasha: Im dereferencing on line 14 dad! god! Malias stupid library doesnt support returning a linked list i think...
    Barack: now --let me be clear here-- this, and i mean this code, isnt going to compile in Borland young ladies...
    daughters: OMG DAD this compiles FINE in GCC!
    Michelle: have you kids been hanging around uncle Richard and his GNU friends again...
  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Monday March 14, 2016 @09:58AM (#51693093) Journal

    Donald Trump has announced that he's going to make Open Source great again by putting the "SS" back in "OSS".

  • The Obama administration should open source the AHA exchange; let market competitors fix and replace it.
  • The people who run the Department of Re-inventing The Wheel will get laid off.
  • So government is going to have to release source code from some crappy custom HR or accounting application? Really folks think about the business applications you work on.
  • by rayzat ( 733303 ) on Monday March 14, 2016 @10:34AM (#51693377)
    The Federal government pays a lot of money for research and development in a lot of areas, architecture, bridges, roads, jet engines, custom ASICs, etc etc. I used to design custom racks, brackets, conduit routing, power/heating/cooling systems for electronics. Think Humvees with quarter racks to a full mobile data center. It eventually got to the point where we were only doing something new/innovative every 3rd or 4th deal. Every other deal was use the bracket designed for A, the rack from B, the generator from C, etc. If we had to release those cad drawings we would have had no competitive edge. If they're saying code should be reusable across agencies and parts should be made open, when stop just at software?
  • Considering President Obama has approval ratings on slashdot that are about even with the Ebola Virus or Kim Jong-Un, I would expect that his endorsement of recycling code would encourage the monkeys that write slashdot to cough up some all-new code very soon. This might be the greatest gift Obama has given to the slashdot community since ... well, likely ever.
  • Just great! (Score:4, Funny)

    by PPH ( 736903 ) on Monday March 14, 2016 @10:41AM (#51693429)

    Another bin I have to haul out to the curbside every week. Worse yet, they'll make us sort it first. Perl goes in the green one, C++ in the blue (please remove and discard templates first), VB goes in with the compost.

  • Any software paid for by public funds should be made available for public use, duh! We also need to open source all textbooks, and put all the for-profit textbook companies out of business. Seriously, a huge chunk of our education budget goes to publishers, and open source text would be freely downloadable to tablets, making it cheaper, more current, and more correct, sense any errors could be instantly corrected. Put out bounties, and pay students for finding "bugs" in the text, that'll make those little b
  • by kyldere ( 723002 )
    To me, this means that someone in the government understands what an API is. This is great news!

Base 8 is just like base 10, if you are missing two fingers. -- Tom Lehrer