DoD launches open-source initiative

WASHINGTON. The Department of Defense (DoD) has announced its launch of "Code.mil," an open-source effort that enables software developers around the globe to collaborate on unclassified code written by federal employees in support of DoD projects. DoD is partnering with GitHub, an open-source platform, to experiment with promoting increased collaboration between federal employees and private-sector software developers on software projects built within the DoD.

Th project, spearheaded by the Defense Digital Service (DDS), is regarded by the as a direct way to tap into a worldwide community of developers to collectively speed up and strengthen the government's software-development process. In exchange, DoD program code hosted on GitHub will be open and available for individuals to reuse and repurpose for personal and public projects. The concepts of open-source and so-called free software (a term used to mean software freedom, not free of cost) -- while regarded as best practice in industry and an integral part of modern software development -- are yet to be widely adopted within the DoD. With Code.mil, DoD believes that it can access a previously untapped depth and breadth of technical skill while offering for free public use software tools created by the government.

Another objective for Code.mil, according to the DoD, is to create a network of peers between the federal government and the developer community to encourage participation, share knowledge, and make connections in support of DoD programs that ultimately service U.S. national security.

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