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The Register: Open Source is Good for America--US Military Advised

Oct 29, 2002, 13:00 (7 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Andrew Orlowski)

[ Thanks to Bradford L. Barrett for this link. ]

"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 military.

"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...'"

Complete Story

[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. -BKP]

"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:

  1. "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 reliability...

    "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 sendmail...

"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..."

Complete MITRE Report (in PDF)

Download xpdf

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