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New U.S. Government Policy Promotes Open Source

Federal agencies must share code in order to reduce waste.


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On Monday, U.S. government CIO Tony Scott and chief acquisition officer Anne E Rung laid out a new federal policy that encourages government agencies to open source their code. Scott and Rung said that agencies frequently pay to develop code that is very similar to code developed by other parts of the government because agencies aren't sharing. To correct that, they are launching a three-year pilot project that requires agencies to open source at least 20 percent of the code from any custom development projects.

"Enhanced reuse of custom-developed code across the federal government can have significant benefits for American taxpayers, including decreasing duplicative costs for the same code and reducing federal vendor lock-in," Scott and Rung said.

In addition, when agencies are deploying new applications, they must first look for a suitable open source project that could fill their need. If none exists, they can consider purchasing commercial software. Only if they can't find open source or pre-written software can they commission custom code.



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