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TABLE OF CONTENTS EXECUTIVE SURVEY

SUMMARY

RESULTS

EXPLORING THE OPEN-SOURCE LANDSCAPE ACROSS GOVERNMENT

OPEN

SOURCE

IN

OPEN

SPACE

L E S S O N S F R O M N A S A’ S J E T P R O P U L S I O N LABORATORY

IS GOVERNMENT THE ULTIMATE EXPERIMENT OPEN SOURCE? EXPERT

IN

INSIGHTS

L E V E R A G I N G T H E VA L U E O F O P E N S O U R C E I N GOVERNMENT

5 WAY S O P E N S O U R C E W I L L IMPACT THE AGENCY OF THE FUTURE OPEN-SOURCE

CHEAT

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

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SHEET

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OPEN SOURCE A G E N C Y

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A new paradigm – the shared economy – has emerged and reshaped business practices, governments and our private lives. This shared economy has affected society in dozens of ways: We share bikes, cars, nannies, skills and even our homes. Crowdsourced services are changing our social fabric and altering how we share knowledge. As a result, we must ask ourselves this question: If we are so committed to the power of sharing in our private lives, why not do the same with software in our agencies? Through GovLoop’s research initiatives to define the “agency of the future,” we have consistently found one important trend in government: open-source technology. Open source holds great potential to reimagine business processes and how services are delivered in the public sector. Government agencies have used open-source solutions in a variety of ways, including powering websites and running internal communications platforms. We’ve seen how agencies can tailor open-source solutions to fit organizational needs. As with any kind of information technology initiative or program, government agencies must consider the mission value when adopting open source, and they must understand the costs, risks and opportunities associated with it. We have created this report to

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cut through the hype to clarify how open source can transform your agency and prepare it for the future. Specifically, this report includes: „ „ Survey results from 233 government professionals, with 73 percent citing security as the leading barrier to adopting open-source solutions and 58 percent reporting use of open source today. „ „ An interview with Chris Mattmann, senior computer scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and adjunct assistant professor at the University of Southern California. „ „ An interview with Gunnar Hellekson, chief technology strategist at Red Hat’s U.S. public-sector business. „ „ Insights on how open source will affect government in the next three to five years. „ „ A public-sector open-source cheat sheet that summarizes this guide and provides need-toknow open-source information. The bottom line: Open source offers a bright spot in government innovation and can help launch agencies into the future.

OPEN SOURCE

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SURVEY RESULTS E X P L O R I N G S O U R C E A C R O S S

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As we explore how government agencies are using open source, remember that open-source adoption is not confined to the IT department. For it to continue to take root, agency leaders must embrace a new way of thinking about software and get support from other employees.

survey found that 58 percent of respondents said they are currently using open source in some capacity. (See Figure 1.) The survey also found that:

A D OPTI O N O F O P E N S O UR CE IN G OV ER N M E N T

„ „ 30 percent are not using open source but would like to learn more.

In response to budget cuts and limited resources, governments worldwide are exploring open source as a means to meet growing demand from citizens and to help employees fufill mission-centric initiatives, our survey found. Specifically, the GovLoop

„ „ 38 percent of respondents are using open source at a basic level.

„ „ 20 percent rely on open source to meet agency goals. „ „ 12 percent are currently exploring ways to leverage open source.

OPEN SOURCE

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FI GU RE 1:

ARE YOU USING OPEN SOURCE AT YOUR AGENCY ?

12%

currently exploring ways to leverage open source

38%

using open source at a basic level

20%

rely on open source to meet agency goals

30%

not using open source but would like to learn more

FIGU RE 2:

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF OPEN SOURCE?

54%

61%

70% 70% 71%

Resource management and cost control Improved efficiency and productivity Open-source community for software improvements Ease of information exchange Ability to build once and replicate as a benefit

WHAT A R E T H E BENEF I TS O F O P E N S OU R C E FO R T H E PU B L I C S E C T O R? Adopting open-source technology provides a great opportunity for the government, our survey found. Seventy-one percent of respondents said the main benefits from open source are resource management and cost control. (See Figure 2.) Other results show that: „ „ 70 percent named improved efficiency and productivity as benefits.

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„ „ 70 percent have used the open-source community for software improvements. „ „ 61 percent highlighted the ease of information exchange. „ „ 54 percent noted the ability to build once and replicate as a benefit. One respondent cited education as a leading benefit, saying, “Open source educates users for greater problem solving.” Open source also has opened the door for increased training and staff development at government agencies. “Open source builds the

skills and expertise of your staff,” a respondent said. Another benefit: Agencies do not have to deal with proprietary vendors and outdated solutions, making the agency more agile. “Open source enables lower cost solutions and innovation,” a respondent said. Survey takers also said open source allows agencies to control costs so they are not at the mercy of software vendors for upgrades. Finally, respondents agreed that when done correctly, open source leads to codevelopment of knowledge and collaboration among stakeholders.


S U RV EY F I N D I N GS : OPEN- S OURC E T RE N D S Although 58 percent of respondents said they are using open source to meet mission needs, their applications of the software varied. These findings show how open source can be used in many ways to meet organizational demands and objectives. Our survey also identified six open-source trends, which are highlighted below. They show how open source has helped agencies create the agency of the future.

Modernizing and Creating Compelling Websites The most common way agencies have used open source is to support web development. Respondents provided many examples of websites that are powered by open-source software. An employee in Austin, Texas, said, “AustinTexas.gov is the city of Austin’s official website and is built using Drupal.” Another respondent said many state government agency websites use WordPress, a publishing platform and content management system (CMS), and Drupal, a free, open-source content management service, which is written in PHP and is distributed under the GNU Public License. Drupal also powers the White House and Federal Emergency Management Agency websites. Additionally, Washington, D.C., has embraced open source, a District employee said. “We have successfully implemented Drupal 7 as the District’s enterprise content management system for DC.gov, the government’s web portal,” the person said.

Respondents also provided specific examples from the federal government’s use of open-source software. One comes from Data. gov, the warehouse of federal data and one of President Obama’s signature open-government initiatives. “Data.gov runs entirely on open source. We started out on Drupal and now we are moving to WordPress. Our data catalog is [based on the Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network] (headed by the Open Knowledge Foundation). We put all our custom development in GitHub, [a web-based hosting service]. Our open data interchange format (data.json) is crowdsourced via project open data. We run on Linux and use open-source databases like MySQL and PostGreSQL,” said one federal government employee. Respondents also said they use open-source technology such as WordPress, the Joomla! CMS and Drupal for web development projects.

Powering Productivity through Open Office Suites Other examples of open-source adoption that respondents cited included using productivity suites. “All our desktop publishing, all web properties, collaborative environments and most database use open-source technology,” one user said. Another added, “We have success with OpenOffice, and we are evaluating an [enterprise

resource planning] open-source platform.” Several survey respondents said they use the Apache OpenOffice suite, which is free software that provides users with word processers, spreadsheets, graphics and database management software.

Intranet and Internal Communications Additionally, government is using open source to improve internal communications and collaboration tools such as intranets. “Apache, PHP and MySQL were the foundation for many of our quick deployment solutions for the intranet and public website, along with a number of turnkey CMS solutions,” a respondent said. “Our intranet, which has 120,000 users, is based on Drupal and [Apache] Struts with a PostgreSQL database,” another respondent said. “This took awhile to migrate the original intranet (hardcoded HTML), but it has been worth migrating.” An additional example of open source for internal communications comes from Arvada, Colo. “We have successfully implemented an open-source content management system written by the city of Arvada and we are sharing the code,” a city employee said. “We also use Joomla! for our intranet.”

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The Department of Energy has joined forces with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on an energy modeling tool called EnergyPlus.

Facilitating Emerging Trends: Big Data, Cloud and Mobile Some survey participants mentioned open-source tools such as Hadoop, MySQL and Linux. Hadoop allows agencies to quickly and inexpensively process data, regardless of structure. MySQL is the most popular open-source relational database management system and is used across all levels of government. Linux is an opensource operating system. These trends are important to note because with the growth of big data initiatives, cloud computing and mobile, open source is playing an essential role in helping agencies find value from the data they are collecting, storing and managing.

Crowdsourcing Custom Applications In addition to helping web development, content management and office productivity suites, open source has also been used to develop custom applications to support missions. Two respondents identified unique federal projects that have used open-source software for meeting agency needs. “The Department of Energy has joined forces with [the National Renewable Energy Laboratory] on an energy modeling tool called EnergyPlus, which runs on something called OpenStudio Application Suite” a department employee wrote. “It is an open-source-based software tool developed by NREL for DOE. This is a huge success in terms of DOE’s use/development

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At the U.S. Agency for International Development, employees are using open source to create maps powered by OpenStreetMap.

of open source. NREL expertise is what has allowed the development and use of open source.” At the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), employees are using open source to create maps. “USAID’s GeoCenter has been exploring the use of the OpenStreetMap (OSM) base layer for our work,” an agency worker said. “OSM is an openly licensed map created and maintained by a global network of volunteers. In many cases, in very poor and/or rural areas around the world, OSM represents the best geospatial option, better even than Google Maps or Microsoft’s Bing Maps. This freely available, freely licensed data saves the agency a lot of money in outsourced maintenance and initial mapping.”

The Global Impact of Open Source Although there are many examples of open source at work in the United States, organizations worldwide have used such technology to meet agency demand. Our survey was predominately U.S.-focused, but GovLoop did receive responses from users in other countries. For example, a respondent in the United Kingdom called attention to the report “Open Standards Principles: For software inteoprerability, data and document formats in government IT specifications” in which U.K. leaders provided seven open standards principles for open source: 1. We place the needs of our users at the heart of our standards choices.


2. Our selected open standards will enable suppliers to compete on a level playing field. 3. Our standards choices support flexibility and change. 4. We adopt open standards that support sustainable cost. 5. Our decisions on standards selection are well informed. 6. We select open standards using fair and transparent processes. 7. We are fair and transparent in the specification and implementation of open standards. An employee from the Dutch government also provided an international perspective. “We use open source for our intranet,” the respondent said. “We work together with two other agencies, on the software of www.pleio.nl. They work for the total of the Dutch government and connect them through a social media 2.0 solution.” The software, Pleio, offers the ability to conduct online meetings with citizens or business in an open-source environment.

O B STACLE S T O A D OPT ION Although these trends show the power of open source, the road to adoption is not always clear. Agency officials must navigate difficult procurement cycles, define mission value and navigate security challenges. To better understand the roadblocks, our survey asked respondents to identify the barriers to adoption. We found that the leading obstacle is security challenges (73 percent). Other challenges respondents named: „ „ 60 percent cited lack of education and knowledge on open source. „ „ 58 percent cited fear of interoperability with existing systems. „ „ 50 percent cited licensing and legal concerns. In particular, respondents commented on the difficulty of budget and resource requirements, change management, culture, and staffing concerns. “One challenge is the lack of knowledge within government workforce, as some of the stated concerns, while held,

are largely invalid or easily mitigated,” a respondent said. Another touched on the perceptions of open source, stating that open source gets passed over because of “irrational assumptions that closed/proprietary software does much more to address the issues above than simply pass the buck.” Respondents also highlighted the need to receive managers’ support. “Without executive buy-in, wheels will spin and nothing will happen,” one said. Another said, “A lot of the pushback will be from people who depend on and only know proprietary software. Offer trainings and learning opportunities to those people so they don’t feel threatened. Having the IT ‘grunts’’ support will go far when it comes to getting approval from higher up.” Like any kind of IT investment, open source will have its challenges. The rest of our guide explores a government case study, provides insights from open-source experts and concludes with an open-source cheat sheet to help you fully understand open-source technology.

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F I GU R E 3:

WHAT ARE THE OBSTACLES TO ADOPTION? 73%

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OPEN SOURCE

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OPEN SOURCE IN OPEN SPACE L E S S O N S J E T

F R O M

N A S A ’ S

P R O P U L S I O N L A B O R A T O R Y

Expert insights from Chris Mattmann, senior computer scientist at JPL GovLoop recently spoke with Chris Mattmann, senior computer scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, to learn how JPL has become a leader in open source, serving as a model agency of the future. Mattmann explained why government should use open-source software, dispelled open-source myths and discussed best practices for open-source adoption. Understanding open source’s role and the licenses that meet agency standards are crucial because open source is not simply a technological trend; it forms the backbone of the technological innovations our

agencies depend on to gain an edge. These technological innovations will shape the agency of the future. Mattmann explains how.

OPE N SOUR CE ’S R OLE AT NASA Any technology, regardless of whether it’s open source, should “fit the bill on the cost-saving side and in the context of reducing risk,” Mattmann said. In his area of expertise – earth science – open-source software has grown to be the preferred technology. “We deal with a lot of files, including scientific observations,” Mattmann said. “We need efficient ways

OPEN SOURCE

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of organization and ways to automatically extract important information from these large amounts of files.” Understanding how people will use open-source technology is just as important as understanding how it’s produced. Consumers of open source use the technology to fulfill goals, while producers create open-source frameworks tailored to their organization’s needs. Mattmann said that agencies where a team has technical expertise should take on both production and consumer roles with open source. Producing open source allows employees “to shape and drive the requirements

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and directions of these products,” he said. One way Mattmann and NASA have used open source can be seen in the Apache Tika project, which Mattmann is vice president of. Apache Tika identifies, retrieves and sorts text and metadata from more than 1,200 file formats across languages and cultures. Mattmann and a team of volunteers have received several accolades for their work on this content analysis toolkit, including receiving funding from the National Science Foundation to further develop the opensource framework for metadata exploration, automatic text mining and information retrieval.

Agencies that choose to use open source must start small, Mattmann said. One of the mistakes he often sees is that agency officials interested in producing open source want to start big and create the general frameworks they have used in the past. “Start by building something real and by building successful software systems even if they’re not reusable,” Mattmann said. “You need to have built something before in order to find out what worked and what didn’t. From there you can generalize. The more successful frameworks we are seeing in open source have followed that path.”


DI S PELL I N G 2 MYTHS OF O P E N S OU R C E SO F T WA RE Whether your agency wants to be a producer or consumer, employees must be prepared to make their case for open source. Often this means open-source advocates must start by directly addressing the myths that have prevented the use of open source. Mattmann cited the two major myths that he has seen become roadblocks to adoption.

Myth 1: Open-source software is lower-quality software than proprietary. Peer and human-oriented reviews have consistently demonstrated that open source can create better-quality software with fewer bugs. Mattmann also said that NASA subjected open-source software to multiple Test Maturity Model Integration appraisals. “These assessments showed how open source can actually yield better-quality code, how it is more continuously integrated and tested, and how it is more free of bugs,” he said. Specifically, development testing firm Coverity published a 2011 report stating that open-source code has fewer defects per 1,000 lines of code than proprietary software.

the techniques for insulation, as you would any technology,” Mattmann said. Some examples of technology used to deploy and insulate software from upstream changes in the repository include: „ „ Branching: duplicating source code so that modifications can happen in parallel along both paths, or branches. „ „ Forking: transferring code not to a separate branch but to a separate developer community to make changes. „ „ Header: maintaining a copy of the project and selectively upgrading as needed. In order for agencies to continue to take advantage of open source, leaders must look at new ways to adopt software and work to dispel myths.

OPE N SOUR C E I N GOVE R NME NT Aside from widely propagated myths, there are concerns that are specific to government agencies, which must meet federally mandated requirements not imposed on private organizations. Among them is obtaining the correct licensure. In fact, according to GovLoop’s survey, 50 percent of respondents cited licensing and legal concerns as a leading barrier to adoption. In government, open source must be used with a permissive license, Mattmann said. A permissive license guarantees the freedoms to use, modify and redistribute code, but it also permits proprietary derivative works. Many of the popular open-source platforms, such as Apache 2, BST and MIT, are available with these licenses. To make sure your agency is getting the right license and platforms Mattmann recommends working with a vendor to help make sense of the procurement process.

Myth 2: Open source allows outsiders to modify code. Another common concern, Mattmann said, is that someone will hack code with malicious intent, but many steps can be taken to prevent that. “We can dispel this myth through educating people on

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IS G OV ER N M E N T T H E U LT IMAT E E X PE R IME NT IN OPEN S O U RC E ? How GitHub Has Transformed Open-Source Coding for Government

Ben Balter, government evangelist at GitHub, recently spoke with Chris Dorobek on the DorobekINSIDER blog, identifying the value of GitHub for government, which has become the default for sharing code in open source. (Listen to the full interview here.) During the interview, Balter described GitHub as a Facebook for coders, but instead of sharing pictures and status updates, you share your software code. He said GitHub is: „ „ A version control platform and a social network. „ „ Focused on growing communities around a shared challenge. GitHub is also a coding wiki, he added. “GitHub is built under the same philosophy as a wiki: Anyone can propose a change,” Balter said. “In GitHub, we have a pool request model. That means we have a structured comment section. Instead of a member of the public having direct access to edit the underlying source code, the proposed change is moderated. The original creator can either reject or approve of the edit. In the meantime, the entire community can have a discussion in the comment section about the proposed change.” GitHub has more than 4 million users and hosts more than 6 million repositories of code. There

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are dozens of examples of how coders have used GitHub to share, modify and improve coding practices. Organizations such as Code for America, the White House, FEMA and dozens of state, local and federal agencies host their code on GitHub. Projects that have used it include: Project Open Data: This White House-developed

project is a collection of code, tools and case studies designed to help agencies adopt the Open Data Policy and fully make use of their data. New York State Senate: According to its website,

the New York State Senate “uses open-source software whenever possible in order to avoid paying expensive software license fees, and we release new software that we develop under open-source software licenses whenever possible, so that others in government or the private sector can leverage our work, thus maximizing the return on the investment of the tax dollars invested in its creation.” The code is shared on GitHub and at www.nysenate.gov/developers. Code for America: The goal of Code for America is

to improve relationships between citizens and government. It helps local governments build and deploy technology that makes it easy to connect and engage with government. The code used to develop these technologies is then shared on GitHub for other cities to model and build on.


OPEN SOURCE PRODUCTS, IN MY MIND, WILL BECOME A TOOL TO

CREATE

AN

OPEN

AND

T R A N S PA R E N T

G O V E R N M E N T.

Most

of us have information we want to share with each other for efficiency reasons, but also to the public for accountability reasons,â&#x20AC;? - GovLoop survey respondent.

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EX PER T I N S I GH T S :

LEVERAGING THE VALUE OF OPEN SOURCE IN GOVERNMENT An Interview With Gunnar Helleckson, Chief Technology Strategist, Red Hat

Open source is playing an essential role in shaping the agency of the future. Across government, agencies are leveraging open source to help fulfill mission needs at lower costs and increased productivity. “The role of open source is largely to commoditize and standardize technology, making it cheap and easily available to as many people as possible,” said Gunnar Hellekson, chief technology strategist at Red Hat’s U.S. public-sector business. We’ve seen the myriad ways agencies use open source. Hellekson provides another example: governmentfunded research. Researchers are not only using open-source technology, but at places such as NSF, it is required to aid in collaboration and knowledge sharing. “It’s been interesting to see open source evolve from something that agencies are afraid of or something that has to be dealt with to something that many organizations now see as an opportunity,” he said. When clients start to think about open source, Hellekson added, they are driven by a desire for reduced costs, but that shouldn’t be their only consideration he said. Open source also: „ „ Facilitates the ability to innovate faster. „ „ Provides more interoperability than proprietary software. „ „ Helps embrace and define open standards. „ „ Lets users work directly with developers of the software. In addition, open source is changing the way government engages with the private sector. “We are seeing more agencies and programs using open source as a meaningful way to do collaboration with their colleagues in the private sector, which is really exciting to see,” Hellekson said. “The biggest lesson learned is to not treat open source as something special,” he added. “When agencies start working with open source, they see licenses and acronyms they do not understand, and tend to put out guidance that is restrictive and actually hurts their adoption of open source.” “If you want to put special rules in place on how you can use open-source software, then chances are really good that you can put those rules in place for proprietary software as well, so don’t use open source as a special case,” Hellekson said. Red Hat helps make open source practical to use and assures that an agency’s software is stable, interoperable with other software and hardware, and certified to meet government criteria and provide support for specific government requirements. For advanced open-source users, Red Hat works with the open-source community to develop the right code, build security protections and lead an agency through open-source adoption.

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A PLATFORM WITHOUT BOUNDARIES Agencies that depend on innovation have one thing in common: They have built their technology foundations to be open, not closed. Because they know the best ideas are built by many, not few. These agencies run on Red Hat® Enterprise Linux ®. It’s time to experience what IT can do with no proprietary limits, vendor-imposed constraints, or boundaries to innovation. It’s time for IT to create the future instead of waiting for it.

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Copyright © 2013 Red Hat, Inc. Red Hat, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, the Shadowman logo, and JBoss are trademarks of Red Hat, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. Linux® is the registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in the U.S. and other countries. OPEN SOURCE

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5 WAYS OPEN SOURCE WILL IMPACT THE AGENCY OF THE FUTURE Many technology services are shaping the agency of the future, and open source is a major one. As the survey data show, there is great opportunity for organizations to adopt open-source technology to meet their missions. “In the next three to five years, open source will be the standardized architecture at NASA,” said JPL’s Mattmann. Here are five additional ways we see open source affecting the agency of the future:

1 . E ASING BUDGE T CONST R AINT S Diminishing budgets continue to plague the public sector. With open source, there is the opportunity to create and develop innovative technology solutions while still lowering costs. “Open source leads to cost savings in an age of budget reductions,” one survey respondent said. Additionally, open-source solutions can improve government by reducing duplication and creating more efficiency, another respondent said.

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Open source works despite the bleak budgetary outlook. “Properly implemented open source could allow government agencies to have better control of their IT infrastructure at a lower cost than proprietary solutions,” a survey respondent said.

2. A S S I S TI N G I N T HE DEV EL O P M E N T AND C R EAT I O N O F OP EN S TAN D A RD S Open source can help create innovative solutions for government agencies. As government services become more complex and sectors become increasingly interconnected, agencies must focus on inventive solutions that meet complex citizen demands. Open source can help create this kind of environment, allowing agencies to develop tailored solutions.

Although creating open-source solutions can prove advantageous to users, their full potential can’t be realized without open standards. “Open source’s biggest advantage is open standards,” a survey taker said. “If you and I use the same common language, there is much less likelihood of miscommunication. When a government agency relies on a proprietary product whose manufacturer is taken over, costs usually go up or the agency is stuck using the same software years past its useful working life.” “Open source gives the agency a way out,” the respondent added. “They can develop new features in house, hire someone to maintain their applications or find another branch of the source. Open source may require more resources to maintain, but it certainly has benefits in the long term.”

“ I N G O V E R N M E N T , W E D O N ’ T H AV E B I G BAGS OF MONEY TO PUT IN FRONT OF P E O P L E L I K E I N T H E P R I VAT E S E C T O R , ” J P L’ S M AT T M A N N S A I D .

BUT OPEN

S O U R C E C A N AT T R A C T T O P - T I E R TA L E N T AND SHOW HOW WORKING FOR THE P U B L I C S E C T O R P R E S E N T S A N U N R I VA L E D O P P O R T U N I T Y T O H E L P O U R N AT I O N . M AT T M A N N B E L I E V E S T H AT O N C E PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYEES SEE THE CHANCE TO CODE FOR GOVERNMENT MISSIONS, “ I T M AY V E R Y W E L L B E M O R E E X C I T I N G T H A N W O R K I N T H E P R I VAT E S E C T O R . ”

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3 . AT T R ACT ING T HE FUT UR E W OR KFOR CE : OPE N SOUR CE AS A R E CR UIT MEN T T OOL “In government, we don’t have big bags of money to put in front of people like in the private sector,” JPL’s Mattmann said. But open source can attract top-tier talent and show how working for the public sector presents an unrivaled opportunity to help our nation. Mattmann believes that once prospective employees see the chance to code for government missions, “it may very well be more exciting than work in the private sector.” He sees this firsthand. In addition to his role at NASA, Mattmann teaches computer science at the University of Southern California, where his graduate students are also being trained in open-source technology. Experts in other fields are being trained in coding in order to produce tailored software on the job, he added.

4 . SE T T ING A FOUNDAT ION FOR GOVE R NME N T T R ANSPAR E N CY With open-source technology, government has an opportunity to advance transparency efforts and create a more direct, effective and responsive government. The agency of the future will be guided by openness and transparency, as citizens will continue to leverage government data and information to create apps, start businesses or engage with government in yet unknown ways.


“Open-source products, in my mind, will become a tool to create an open and transparent government,” a respondent said. “Most of us have information we want to share with each other for efficiency reasons but also to the public for accountability reasons.” Public distrust of government is due to a lack of clarity as to how tax dollars are spent, and open source changes that, the respondent said. It lets citizens track resources agencies more effectively communicate value. Open source can help cut waste, fraud and abuse. “Sharing tools and resources would facilitate sharing of information, and would require employees to better communicate,” another respondent said. “This can only enhance our processes and services in the public sector.”

5 . SUPPOR T ING E M ER GING T E C HNOLOGY S U CH AS CLOUD A N D BIG DATA The final way that open source will shape the agency of the future is by facilitating related technology trends such as big data, cloud and

mobile programs. “Ninety percent of cloud vendors are based on an open-source stack,” Mattmann said. In addition, commercial vendors are packaging open source to allow agencies to make the most out of big data. It’s becoming the default way to process commoditized and valued data. Simply put, “open source will be mission-critical,” Mattmann said.

Our report should be just the start of your path to leveraging open source and becoming an agency of the future. To solve the largescale issues facing government, agency leaders need to think of new and innovative solutions to cut costs, increase efficiencies and improve services. Open source can certainly help. Our report concludes with an “Open-Source Cheat Sheet,” which will give you need-to-know information and propel you on your journey into adopting open source.

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YOUR OPEN SOURCE CHEAT SHEET

To understand open source at its most basic level, we’ll start with how the Open Source Initiative defines it. (The full definition is available online at The Open Source Definition .).

The introduction states, “Open source doesn’t just mean access to the source code. The distribution terms of opensource software must comply with the following criteria.” Here’s an overview of the 10 sections of the definition.

<ol> 1

<li> FREE REDISTRIBUTION: Licenses exist, but do not require royalties or fees.</li>

2

<li> SOURCE CODE: Source code must exist for distribution and cannot be deliberately hidden and programmers must have quick access to the source code.</li>

3

<li> DERIVED WORKS: The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software.</li>

4

<li> INTEGRITY OF THE AUTHOR’S SOURCE CODE: Different licenses will have different rules about distribution to protect the original source code; this can be confusing, so your best bet is to work with your vendor or an open-source expert.</li>

5

<li> NO DISCRIMINATION AGAINST PERSONS OR GROUPS: The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.</li>

6

<li> NO DISCRIMINATION AGAINST FIELDS OF ENDEAVOR: The code can be used in any sector or business and for research purposes.</li>

7

<li> DISTRIBUTION OF LICENSE: If someone uses the code within a program, an additional license is not needed for additional users.</li>

8

<li> LICENSE MUST NOT BE SPECIFIC TO A PRODUCT: If code is redistributed, then new users have the same rights as the original user.</li>

9

<li> LICENSE MUST NOT RESTRICT OTHER SOFTWARE: Open-source licenses should not restrict the use of proprietary software.</li>

10

<li> LICENSE MUST BE TECHNOLOGY-NEUTRAL: The kind of technology and interface used should not prohibit the use of open-source technology.</li> </ol>

OPEN- S O U RCE L I C E N S E S Open source has various licenses, each with specific requirements and limitations. The rules and regulations are complex; working with an open-source expert or vendor can help you understand which license you need. Check out these common open-source licenses:

„ „ Apache License 2.0 „ „ BSD 3-Clause “New” or “Revised” license

SO OP

„ „ MIT License

ES

„ „ GNU Library or “Lesser” General Public License

E LIC EN S

„ „ GNU General Public License

EN

„ „ BSD 2-Clause “Simplified” or “FreeBSD” license

URC

„ „ Mozilla Public License 2.0

S

ES

„E„NEclipse AG C Y O FPublic T H E License FUTURE

EN

21.

OP

„ „ Common Development and Distribution License


7 B ES T PRA C T I CE S F O R O PE N-SOUR CE ADOPT ION Need a quick refresh from some of the findings in this report? Here are the best practices we collected. These insights will help agencies consider open source as a tool to deliver mission value or begin on the path to adoption. 1. Know the different open-source licenses and their strengths and weaknesses. 2. Conduct small pilot programs to help with evaluation and adoption.

5 OPE N-SOUR CE M YTH S

3. Create and leverage a GitHub account so that you can participate in a learning community.

1. Open source is less secure than proprietary software.

4. Maintain executive-level and organizational support.

2. Open source cannot be implemented agencywide.

5. Communicate the benefits of open source across your agency. 6. Beware of the hidden costs. 7. Change how you think about purchasing software.

3. Open source is hard to support. 4. Open-source software doesn’t exist for the application needed. 5. Open source only benefits programmers.

A D D I TI ON A L RE S O U RCE S Here are guides from Open Source for America, an organization working toward raising awareness in the federal government about the benefits of opensource software:

Resources from Military Open-Source Software, a grass-roots organization that connects civilian and military developers using open-source software and hardware at the Department of Defense:

1. “How to Evaluate Open Source Software / Free Software (OSS/FS) Programs”

1. Policy memo from John Stenbit, DOD’s chief information officer – “Open Source Software in the Department of Defense”

2. “Total cost of ownership of open source software: a report for the UK Cabinet Office supported by OpenForum Europe” 3. “Government Computer Software Acquisition and the GNU General Public License” 4. “Publicly Releasing Open Source Software Developed for the U.S. Government”

2. “Acquiring and Enforcing the Government’s Rights in Technical Data and Computer Software Under Department of Defense Contracts: A Practical Handbook for Acquisition Professionals” 3. “Open Technology Development: Lessons Learned & Best Practices for Military Software” 4. DOD policy memo – “Better Buying Power: Mandate for Restoring Affordability and Productivity in Defense Spending” 5. DOD policy memo – “Clarifying Guidance Regarding Open Source Software” O P E N S O U R C E

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The GovLoop team is thankful to everyone who contributed to this report. We thank them for their active community engagement, input and knowledge. This guide would not have been possible without your assistance and from the support of our sponsor, Red Hat. LEAD AUTHOR: Patrick Fiorenza, senior research analyst CO-AUTHOR: Kathryn David, GovLoop research fellow EDITORS: Steve Ressler, GovLoop founder and president, and Andrew Krzmarzick, director of community engagement LEAD DESIGNER: Jeff Ribeira, GovLoop senior interactive designer DESIGNER: Russell Yerkes, GovLoop design fellow IMAGE CREDITS: NASA HubbleSite, Code for America Flickr For more information about this report, please contact Patrick Fiorenza, senior research analyst, at pat@govloop.com or @pjfiorenza.

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ABOUT GOVLOOP GovLoopâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mission is to connect government to improve government. We aim to inspire public sector professionals by acting as the knowledge network for government. The GovLoop community has over 100,000 members working to foster collaboration, solve problems and share resources across government. The GovLoop community has been widely recognized across multiple sectors. GovLoop members come from across the public sector. Our membership includes federal, state, and local public servants, industry experts and professionals grounded in academic research. Today, GovLoop is the leading site for addressing public sector issues. GovLoop works with top industry partners to provide resources and tools to the government community. GovLoop has developed a variety of guides, infographics, online training and educational events, all to help public sector professionals become more efficient Civil Servants. LOCATION GovLoop is headquartered in Washington, D.C., where a team of dedicated professionals shares a common commitment to connect and improve government. 1101 15th St NW Washington, DC 20005 Phone: (202) 407-7421 Fax: (202) 407-7501

OPEN SOURCE

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1101 15th St NW Washington, DC 20005 Phone: (202) 407-7421 Fax: (202) 407-7501

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Agency of the Future: Open Source  

Through GovLoop’s research initiatives to define the “agency of the future,” we have consistently found one important trend in government: o...

Agency of the Future: Open Source  

Through GovLoop’s research initiatives to define the “agency of the future,” we have consistently found one important trend in government: o...

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