U.S. Government Sets Mandates on Sharing Open Source Code

by Ostatic Staff - Aug. 10, 2016

When it comes to the U.S. government, most people's eyes are trained on the Presidential race, and if yours are, you may have missed a landmark governmental decision that represents big news for the open source community. The Office of Management and Budget has just mandated in a lengthy memo that under the final Federal Source Code policy, federal agencies will have to share internally developed code with each other and release at least 20 percent of their code to the public.

The Office of Management and Budget will test the code-sharing plan with a two-year pilot program to help identify any problems that could come with releasing all code. All federal agencies under the purview of the OMB are required to participate in the pilot.

According to Federal CIO Tony Scott:

"By making source code available for sharing and reuse across federal agencies, we can avoid duplicative custom software purchases and promote innovation and collaboration. By opening more of our code to the brightest minds inside and outside of government, we can enable them to work together to ensure that the code is reliable and effective in furthering our national objectives.”

 Code.gov is now the designated repository for shared federal code, and it is expected to launch in the next few months. OMB will also develop a set of metrics to track the program, which it has to up and running within 120 days.

This looks like a strong step forward for open source usage in the government, and it comes on the heels of announcements from Bulgaria and other governments focused on deepening the entrenchment of open source software.