Final policy requires feds to publicly release 20 percent of code

Aaron Boyd | Federal Times | August 8, 2016

Nearly four months after issuing a draft policy to release most — if not all — code produced by government agencies as open source, the Office of Management and Budget dropped the final mandate on Aug. 8. The use of open source code for federal projects has been a major push from the administration over the last couple years and the new policy shows an effort for the government to abide by the same standards they espouse.

Under the final Federal Source Code policy, agencies will have to share internally developed code with each other and release at least 20 percent to the public. OMB plans to test that second part before going governmentwide, with a two-year pilot program to gauge the value and help anticipate pitfalls that could come with releasing all code. All federal agencies under the purview of the OMB directive will be required to participate in the pilot.

“By making source code available for sharing and reuse across federal agencies, we can avoid duplicative custom software purchases and promote innovation and collaboration,” Federal CIO Tony Scott said in an Aug. 8 blog post announcing the final policy. “By opening more of our code to the brightest minds inside and outside of government, we can enable them to work together to ensure that the code is reliable and effective in furthering our national objectives”...