I saw this story:
BMW seeking partners for open-source car software platform and then insidedefense.com had the story: "The Defense Department this week will announce technology development contract awards in the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle [JLTV] competition, according to the Pentagon acquisition chief.
And then talking with Jim Stogdill and reading his excellent post, I was left feeling its too bad that for all the millions that will go into JLTV, its too bad DoD didn't levy some requirement for the operating system to be more open, as in made open source. (Note I am less worried about vehicles, more so about software intesive systems that go inside them)
DoD is now going pretty explicitly to a winner take all model of acquisitons (2 pilot projects and then they pick a winner that goes into full production). Now this makes sense for big iron, physical goods (need to build factories, etc.), but for software its the the wrong, very wrong model.
When DoD picks a winner for a system that is heavily software reliant the Government is placing a bet that the Contractor Team will stay at the leading edge of technology. This never happens, Contractor Teams that win slowly build a Fortress to keep ideas out, while locking the Government into their platform. Then you end where we are now, with weird data standards, legacy systems, etc. Further, 1 team will win, but the loosing Team will have some better ideas or capabilities that the warfighter would love to have on their platform, but won't get because it would mean the Winner would ultimatley get less of the pie.
So, the industrial base shrinks, a division at a company goes out business, etc. OR as an alternative the loosing team could make open source their platform: kind of a 'loose the battle, but win the war" strategy.
Practical guidence for the Gov would be: 1. open the platform up (put an RFP out to make/deliver/build an open source platform or make OSS an existing one). 2. build a community around a capability. 3. let small contracts out for incremental improvements in platforms. 4. simplify the intellectual property rights lanscape for contracting with the government so that a developer can understand them