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US defence dept experiments in open source with Code.mil

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US defence department open source initiative code.mil

The US Department of Defence has launched its Code.mil, a new experience to begin operations using the open source way. With the latest move, software developers around the world will get a chance to collaborate on “unclassified code” written by federal employees to enhance upcoming defence projects.

The US government has partnered with open source repository platform GitHub to begin the collaboration between private sector software and federal employees on software projects designed by the defence department. Presently, the Code.mil URL is redirecting to an online repository that will list some projects by the department to let individuals review and make suggested changes.

The Defense Digital Service (DDS) is currently heading the Code.mil initiative. It is aiming to add commonly used licenses to all the major defence software projects through a legal pathway of using contract law in the Defense Open Source Agreement. The service has already consulted with the Open Source Initiative and Free Software Foundation to devise a comprehensive approach to release both open and free software.

“We want to better incorporate the norms of the open source and free software communities into the department,” said Sharon Woods, DDS legal counsel, in a statement. “We hope this agreement will serve as a bridge so we can use widely adopted open source licenses even without US copyright protections.”

Established in 2015 to bring private sector best practices, talent and technology into the defence department, DDS comprises experts from Google, Amazon and Netflix. This group of technology personnel is building projects like “Hack the Pentagon”, next-generation GPS and defence travel system modernisation.

Calling the community

DDS is calling all the developers, lawyers and other members of the open source and free software communities across the government and private industry to work on a draft open source agreement that will outline the terms of use and participation in the defence software projects. The draft is available on Code.mil and will be finalised by the end of March.

Next after Code.gov

Authorities in the US are actively enhance their developments towards open source. The new launch comes months after the release of the Code.gov website by the US government. That development was aimed to publicly release the code of software developed by the federal government and boost the ongoing open source movement in the country.