Military Open Source Software conf starts this week in DC, really great line-up of speakers AND a barcamp Thursday. It will be fun!
Military Open Source Software conf starts this week in DC, really great line-up of speakers AND a barcamp Thursday. It will be fun!
My new oped in Defense News!
The victors in battles are those who create, modify and deploy ideas faster and more nimbly than opponents. Regrettably, limiting the U.S. military's access to ideas risks failure. For years, the U.S. military has been losing an asymmetric battle that involves not improvised explosive devices, bullets or al-Qaida, but instead swarms of defense industry contractors seizing control of taxpayer-funded ideas because government policy and regulations were engineered to buy iron and steel, not to deploy a software-based military. Much like the battles in Iraq and Afghanistan, the rapid and continual evolution of technology demands that the military accelerate just as rapidly, and the only way is to manage the ideas it has funded. A common theme since 9/11 is that the U.S. government lacks imagination. We have not misplaced our imagination; we are simply unable to deploy new ideas as effectively or as quickly as we could. This loss of agility stands in stark contrast to private industry, foreign governments and nonstate actors, who are adopting and deploying software technologies once exclusively in the military domain. For instance, China deploys advanced electronic warfare technologies, Iran builds unmanned aircraft, al-Qaida evolves explosive devices, and private companies like FedEx and eTrade create complex, redundant and failsafe command-and-control systems. Software is the fabric that enables planning, weapons and logistics systems to function. It might be the only infinitely renewable military resource. New software builds on the raw material of previous software, evolving capabilities. Software is pervasive, from ground sensors to satellites; it is the final expression of a military idea transformed into human readable source code and deployed to a battlefield. WASTED BILLIONS The Department of Defense spends tens of billions of dollars annually creating software that is rarely reused and difficult to adapt to new threats. Instead, much of this software is allowed to become the property of defense companies, resulting in DoD repeatedly funding the same solutions or, worse, repaying to use previously created software. The lack of a coherent set of policies and regulations for the DoD's intellectual property has eroded the U.S. military competitive advantage, leading to compromised missions and lost lives. Improvised explosive device countermeasure systems can't be upgraded rapidly without replacing entire systems; personnel position systems can't update in real time; billions are wasted on software radios that don't interoperate. The byzantine rules governing the military's intellectual property portfolio use an antiquated rights structure where the contractor always retains copyright, and therefore effective monopoly, control over taxpayer-funded software ideas. By contrast, commercial industry ruthlessly exercises control over its own software ideas. The U.S. government has legislated a belief that the defense industry will do right by the military. However, the defense industry will, understandably, do what is best for its shareholders: maximize profit. Monopolies via copyright ultimately increase costs and decrease adaptability and agility in military software. Examples include the General Atomics Predator and the recently canceled Future Combat Systems, where only one company can control these platforms and manipulate the software. Imagine if only the manufacturer of a rifle were allowed to clean, fix, modify or upgrade that rifle. This is where the military finds itself: one contractor with a monopoly on the knowledge of a military software system. A first step would be to require all taxpayer-funded software ideas to be licensed with an open source software copyright. An open source license would define the rights, roles and responsibilities for the military and defense industry and simplify how military software ideas can be shared. To keep the U.S. military ahead of its adversaries, the DoD and defense industry must end this dysfunctional partnership of nonsharing. Defining a modern software intellectual property regime would broaden the defense industrial base by enabling industry access to defense knowledge, thereby increasing competition and eventually lowering costs. Over time, DoD would evolve common software architectures and industrywide baselines to increase the adaptability, agility and - most important - capacity to meet new dynamic threats. As Defense Secretary Robert Gates said at the Eisenhower Library, "The gusher has been turned off and will stay off for a good period of time." The Department of Defense must develop a rights regime that explicitly deals with taxpayer-funded software ideas to increase returns on software investments. The software idea chain is a future weapon; we can either plan for it now or be on the receiving end of it later. --- John Scott is a term-member at the Council on Foreign Relations. He co-wrote the U.S. Defense Department's "Open Technology Development Roadmap," which promotes adoption of open-source methodologies within the military.
"Women in Free/Open Source Software Development" - Hanna Wallach
Women in software: 28% in closed source vs. 2% in open source
number came out of FLOSSPOLS, EU Study,
Qual/Quan study (online survey 1,541 participants)
Results: active (but unconscious) exclusion: "jokes" about women, women used as nontechnical 'typical' user - i.e. Aunt Tilly used as strawman
Beard distinguishes you as a 'hacker'
Men: Technical tasks (code writing, testing, bug reports, etc.)
Women: Social tasks (documentation, org events, translation, etc.)
Debian GNU/Linux, 4 out of 900 Debian developers are women, 8 in the entire history of Debian.
As a Marine friend says "Agility is the Capability" - open source software and methods is the enabler of this.
The DoD CIO office (or ASD-NII) just has posted new open source software guidance for the whole Department of Defense! Only took about 18 months to get through, so worth it. Hopefully this puts the FUD to bed.
Definitively open source software can be used inside the US Dept. of Defense. This is great news and shows that DoD is heading in the right direction to change how information intensive technology acquisitions programs can move toward a more dynamic OODA loop like model.
The entire policy is here: October 16 2009, Open Source Software Guidance Memo, text as follow:
To effectively achieve its missions, the Department of Defense must develop and
update its software-based capabilities faster than ever, to anticipate new threats and
respond to continuously changing requirements. The use of Open Source Software
(OSS) can provide advantages in this regard.
Doc Download 2009OSS
Good to see the Sakai Foundaiton open source software is making inroads into the US Naval Postgraduate Schoo:, Via Kulai:
All I can say is it's about time, today we've launched the Open Source for America Campaign. The press release says it all:
The mission of Open Source for America is to serve as a centralized advocate and to encourage broader U.S. Federal Government support of and participation in free and open source software. Specifically, Open Source for America will: help effect change in policies and practices to allow the federal government to better utilize these technologies; help coordinate these communities to collaborate with the federal government on technology requirements; and raise awareness and create understanding among federal government leaders about the values and implications of open source software.
Great group of individuals and companies involved see:
About Open Source for America Open Source for America is a coalition of industry leaders, non-government groups and academic/research institutions organized to serve as a centralized advocate, to encourage broader U.S. Federal Government support of and participation in free and open source software. Membership in Open Source for America is open to any individual or entity signing the campaign's mission pledge.
Learn more and sign up to join ! at http://www.opensourceforamerica.org We are also planning on having various working groups focusing on health, energy, education, defense and cyber issues.
You can also on Twitter at http://twitter.com/OpenSourceGov
Our OSS website is launch for OpenCPI, Sign up!
The Component Portability Infrastructure (CPI) is a real-time embedded (RTE) middleware solution that simplifies programming of heterogeneous processing applications requiring a mix of field-programmable gate arrays (FPGA), general-purpose processors (GPP), digital signal processors (DSP), and high-speed switch fabrics. The “mix” can be over a lifecycle (technology insertion) as well as within a single implementation (to meet SWAP constraints). CPI improves code portability, interoperability, and performance in FPGA and DSP-based environments by providing well-defined waveform component APIs (application programming interfaces) with a set of infrastructure blocks that act as a hardware abstraction layer (HAL). CPI is also appropriate for the incorporation of GPU and multicore technologies. CPI is uniquely positioned to meet the goals of S3 since in some sense component-based systems are computer-science’s answer to dealing with “knowledge capture” and lock-up of intellectual property (IP). CPI is classified at a technology readiness level 6, and is in programs that will establish it for level 7.
Built on the U.S. Government’s Software Communications Architecture (SCA) standard, CPI extends component-based architectures into FPGAs and DSPs to decrease development costs and time to market with code portability, reuse, and ease of integration. All interfaces are openly published and non-proprietary, using an appropriate mix of industry and government specifications.
To overcome the challenges of code portability in FPGA environments in particular, CPI provides a pre-validated set of building blocks to interface the FPGA waveform applications with high-performance switch fabrics, onboard memory, system command and control, and wideband I/O. CPI’s non-proprietary interfaces act as an abstraction layer to increase the portability of FPGA applications. A verification suite is also included to facilitate debugging and reduce development time.
At the highest level, the CPI vision allows users to outsource the technology transition management job to others. Using the CPI interfaces, developers can protect their application development investment by cost-effectively moving their applications to new generations of systems using the latest technologies. CPI is essentially a kit of necessary pieces to create an application platform for component-based applications based on the SCA model extended to a heterogeneous mix of computing, interconnect and I/O resources. When CPI is adapted to, and installed on a platform, we say that the platform is now “waveform-ready”. While the SCA defines the operating environment and APIs for C++ software applications components running in a CORBA and POSIX-compliant environment, CPI extends the SCA environment, according to the Proposal 289 to SCA (FPGA/DSP extension by Mercury funded by program office) to DSP and FPGA technologies. Analyses for suitability for GPU and Multicore technologies have shown promise.
Great even to be held in DC, May 21 and its free. Pretty amazing lineup of speakers we've managed to get and its at no cost:
Join government IT professionals and industry thought leaders for this FREE full-day event to get smart about implementing Cloud Computing, Open Source, and Virtualization in your agency or organization.
• Pete Tseronis, Deputy Associate CIO, Department of Energy
• Tim Young, Senior Manager, Federal Government Services Group, Deloitte Consulting LLP and Former Deputy Administrator, Office of E-Government and Information Technology, Office of Management and Budget
• Jim Whitehurst, President and CEO, Red Hat ˜ Answering the Call for Transparency in Government: The Open Source Opportunity
Co-located AFFIRM May Luncheon and CIO/CFO Panel:
The New IT Economics:
• Herb Strauss, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer, Robbins-Gioia [Moderator]
• Robert Carey, CIO, Department of the Navy
• Casey Coleman, CIO, General Services Administration
• Chris Kemp, CIO, National Aeronautics and Space Administration Ames Research Center
• Radha Sekar, Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Financial Management for the Under Secretary of Defense Comptroller USD(C)
Register now at www.meritalk.com/2009-federal-it-forum.php
great story for OSSI, the Gov and open source software:
DISA to open source administrative software
Other agencies free to use, modify human resource management software: Joab Jackson
The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) plans to open source a suite of programs that it developed for administrative tasks. The agency has signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the Open Source Software Institute (OSSI) to help release the source code of the programs.
The set of 50 programs, collectively called the Corporate Management Information System (CMIS), handles duties such as human resource management, training, security, acquisition and related functions. All the programs were developed by internally by DISA, and are used by more that 16,000 users worldwide.
“Numerous other government agencies have asked if we'd allow them to adopt CMIS for their internal use," Jack Penkoske, DISA's director of manpower, security and personnel, said in a statement. "We believe this will be a win-win for all involved.”
By allowing third-party developers to view, modify, and reuse the software source code, DISA is hoping that others will improve the code when they modify it for their own purposes.
Been thinking allot about cyberwar and the orgy of funds raining down upon the tribes of defense contractors and I got to wondering, why fight a war you can't win.
Now try to follow me: the US made it a central part of our national strategy to own the skies, I think the last soldier to die from an air to ground strike was in the Korean conflict. So we spent the funds, developed the tech, trained the pilots and can now pretty much own the sky above any country we want to. We decided that we didn't want any competition in the air and wanted to take away that option from any military.
So cyberwar: we are going to attempt to do the same things, spend the funds, develop the tech, do the training, etc. and we'll own the net. BUT of course the net is this large amorphous blob of foreign governments, public and private entities that don't like to take direction from a central source. In effect we can never own the sky. In this case the lessons learned of 'rule the skys' doesn't work and never will because you can never bound the problem of cyberwar. So what to do?
Don't fight a cyberwar by making sure no one else can either.
Most cyberwar exploits weaknesses in existing technologies (servers not protected, patches not installed, bad security, bad archtecture (internet issues), etc.), so turn that technology that deters cyberwar into a commidity for all to use, make it better and move on.
It's a bit counterintuitive but if you can't bound the problem then you will be constantly in the mode of 'wack a mole' hiting this and that group of nitwits or worse state sponsored folks looking to disrupt things. Or the ole Pearl Harbour attack, etc. This would entail pushing open source software, making it better and publishing it for all (yes including the baddies) to use.
So don't fight this war you can't win or at least make it really hard to see any results fast. Over time the systems should get better so that you can trace back a cyber attack and then drop a bomb on them since we own the sky.