U.S. military adopts more open source: is that secure enough for you?

Military is busily creating secure forges for its many open source projects

By Source Seeker on Tue, 07/27/10 – 12:51pm.

The U.S. military and researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are putting their heads together to help the military adopt more open source software. The military wants in on the cost savings, speed and flexibility which OSS offers to users, as opposed to being stuck waiting on proprietary software vendors to modify their tools when changes are needed. If the open source model can be secured enough for the military, surely it can be secured enough for the enterprise.

Specifically, researchers at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI)  are working with the military on a three-pronged plan-of-attack to bring more open source to DoD developers. First, the GTRI will make more source-code tools and applications “available and practical” for military use. An example of the type of open source software that GTRI is developing is FalconView, an open sourced PC-based mapping application.

I asked the GTRI researcher heading up this project, Joshua Davis, what “available and practical” means — after all, open source is already available to everybody. My assumption was that they meant licensing issues — perhaps avoiding the “copyleft” provision, particularly in the GPL. After all, the military may not want people distributing and modifying the source code for, say, a nuclear missile. Davis, who is a research scientist and the associate branch head of the GTRI’s Information Operations Branch Electronic Systems Laboratory, says he doesn’t think copyleft will be much of a hurdle.

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About fblauer

Fred Blauer is a senior consultant with more than 20 years of experience providing information systems consulting, ERP implementation, syste
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