DoD, Energy lead in open source technology

Tuesday - 3/8/2011, 3:57pm EST

Gunnar Hellekson, chief technology strategist, Red Hat's U.S. Public Sector Group

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By John Buckner
Federal News Radio

The Departments of Defense and Energy are the two highest ranked agencies when it comes to openness and transparency and the use of open source technologies.

Open source technology uses computer code that can be shared, viewed or modified by other users. More popular examples of open source are the Firefox web browser or the Linux operating system.

Open Source for America published the results of their recent survey determining which departments were making the most of open source technologies.

"It would be incredibly difficult to measure how much open source is being used in each agency because you don't have to check in, you don't have to tell anybody you are using it," said Gunnar Hellekson, chief technology strategist for Red Hat's U.S. Public Sector Group, in an interview with the DorobekINSIDER.

Instead, Hellekson said Open Source for America focused on factors it could measure, such as how friendly an agency or department was towards open source software and other metrics.

The survey asked the availability of documents, social media and the Freedom of Information Act.

Some of the metrics included:

  • Publishes budget on publicly accessible agency website
  • Published open formatted records include digital certification of authenticity
  • Agency site uses social media to solicit feedback
  • FOIA requests are considered with a presumption in favor of disclosure
  • Publishes fact-finding trips (non-classified) on publicly accessible agency website

This is the first assessment of the agencies under the Directive and Open Government Plans.

John Buckner is an intern with Federal News Radio.

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