"A report commissioned by the US military concludes that open
source and free software should play a greater part in the
infrastructure of the world's remaining superpower.
"Mitre Corporation's 152-page study addresses the extent of
software libre, or FOSS-licensed software use - FOSS being "Free
and Open Source Software", an acronym uncomfortably evocative to
this author of dental hygiene--in various branches of the
"It's all over the place already, conclude the authors, and
there should be more of it.
"'In the long term removing FOSS would remove an important
source of price and quality competition. Without the constant
pressure of low-cost, high-quality FOSS product competing with the
closed-source products, the closed-source vendors could more easily
fall into a cycle in which their support costs balloon and costs
are passed on to their locked-in customers...'"
[Editor's Note: The full text of the DoD-commissioned report
can be found at the link below (thanks to Jeremy Allison - Samba Team for this
link and these excerpts). Caution: the paper's site appears to be
Slashdotted, so excerpts from the paper are included below as well.
"The main conclusion of the analysis was that FOSS software
plays a more critical role in the DoD than has generally been
recognized. FOSS applications are most important in four broad
areas: Infrastructure Support, Software Development, Security, and
Research. One unexpected result was the degree to which Security
depends on FOSS...
"MITRE therefore recommends that the DoD take three policy-level
actions to help promote optimum DoD use of FOSS:
"Create a 'Generally Recognized As Safe' FOSS list.
"This list would provide quick official recognition of FOSS
applications that are (a) commercially supported, (b) widely used,
and (c) have proven track records of security and
"In formulating the list, quick consideration should be given in
particular to high value, heavily used infrastructure and
development tools such as Linux, OpenBSD, NetBSD, FreeBSD, Samba,
Apache, Perl, GCC, GNAT, XFree86, OpenSSH, bind, and
"Encourage use of FOSS to promote product diversity. FOSS
applications tend to be much lower in cost than their proprietary
equivalents, yet they often provide high levels of functionality
with good user acceptance..."