On Open and Collaborative Software Development in the DoD

Report Number: NPS-AM-10-037

Series: Acquisition Management

Category: Open Source Software

Report Series: Proceedings Paper

Authors: Scott Hissam, Charles B. Weinstock, Len Bass

Title: On Open and Collaborative Software Development in the DoD

Published: 2010-04-01

Sponsored By: Acquisition Research Program

Status: Published--Unlimited Distribution

Research Type: Other Research Faculty

Full Text URL: http://acquisitionresearch.net/files/FY2010/NPS-AM-10-037.pdf

Keywords: Open source software, software engineering, reuse, collaborative development


The US Department of Defense (specifically, but not limited to, the DoD CIO Clarifying Guidance Regarding Open Source Software, DISA launch of Forge.mil and OSD Open Technology Development Roadmap Plan) has called for increased use of open source software and the adoption of best practices from the free/open source software (F/OSS) community to foster greater reuse and innovation between programs in the DoD. In our paper, we examine some key aspects of open and collaborative software development inspired by the success of the F/OSS movement as it might manifest itself within the US DoD. This examination is made from two perspectives: the reuse potential among DoD programs sharing software and the incentives, strategies and policies that will be required to foster a culture of collaboration needed to achieve the benefits indicative of F/OSS. Our conclusion is that to achieve predictable and expected reuse, not only are technical infrastructures needed, but also a shift to the business practices in the software development and delivery pattern seen in the traditional acquisition lifecycle is needed. Thus, there is potential to overcome the challenges discussed within this paper to engender a culture of openness and community collaboration to support the DoD mission.