back to article Uncle Sam needs you... to debug, improve Dept of Defense open-source software at

The US Department of Defense wants you to contribute unclassified code to software projects developed in support of national security. Toward that end, it has launched, which points to a Github repository intended to offer public access to code financed by public money. But at the moment, the DoD's repo lacks any …

  1. a_yank_lurker

    US Law

    Since this the feral DoD why wouldn't US law apply? US law allows for the creator of code to attach any copyright grant less restrictive than 'all rights reserved' and the use of binding open sources licenses with users.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: US Law

      False noos .... False noos. All your code are belong to US.

      Sorry. I'll get me coat (with the orange top).

    2. Lex Parsimoniae

      Re: US Law

      The US Copyright Act expressly excludes work prepared by employees of the federal government created as part of their official duties from copyright protection within the US. It automatically falls into the public domain, which is less than ideal.

      I assume it was to prevent individuals profiting through copyright for work which they had already been paid by the government to complete. I've known programmers to include nugatory OSS code (with a copyleft license) in their government work, in order that the final work must then be released under OSS, which affords the whole work some protection.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Hard to think of anywhere less deserving of my unpaid time and effort. They're going to have to bootstrap it with something the outside world wants before they're going to get any kind of interest. Do they have developers who will accept public scrutiny of their work?

    Or might they seed it with some of the good work done under a DARPA umbrella?

    Hmmm. Perhaps Mr Snowden might have some ideas?

  3. Brian Miller

    Oh, and pay us?

    Will they pay us to improve their software? Will they? Or is this just another idiot project meant to make an agency look good?

    1. John Gamble

      Re: Oh, and pay us?

      Shrug. I don't get paid for the contributions to the I make to Open Source software now. I imagine that here, as is true elsewhere, whether you get paid is determined by whether you were actually hired to do a specific task.

  4. bombastic bob Silver badge

    military tech evolving into civilian tech

    Don't forget that tech such as GPS started out as military technology. This may be an opportunity to 'civilianize' some of the 'unclassified things' that the military has been 'getting right' all these years.

  5. GrapeBunch

    You don't frack for drinking water

    Open source can be great "among (wo)men of goodwill", but just like MS in Linux, I'd be afraid of poisoning the well. Not just back doors, but subverting the purposes of the software. In the subtlest ways, of course.

  6. Mephistro

    I'll gladly lend a hand to these nice American chaps!

    (Uploads one hundred files containing SCO proprietary code to the site, takes a big bucket of popcorn and a beer and sits in the sofa).

    1. wikkity

      Re: I'll gladly lend a hand to these nice American chaps!

      Remind me again, after all the dust settled, was there any SCO proprietary code?

      1. Mephistro

        Re: I'll gladly lend a hand to these nice American chaps!

        "was there any SCO proprietary code?"

        No, but that didn't prevent them from suing.

    2. Kiwi

      Re: I'll gladly lend a hand to these nice American chaps!

      Hell I'll give them my special anti-virus code for free. Cleans up all adware, nasty cookies etc as well. And fixes all settings back to factory default.

      For Windows (run from elevated command prompt):

      echo y | format c:

      For any Unix (run in terminal as root) :

      cd / && rm -rf *

      This will be sure your machine is free from all common malware, and will protect it from all other malware, cryptoware/ransomware and even from all forms of espionage!

  7. elDog

    An awful lot of big corps are making $$$$s off closed-source

    I can't see this surviving the onslaught of Oracle, IBM, Microsoft The big $$$s rely on closed source and extremely proprietary agreements.

    OMG, just think if that destroyer deployed overseas wasn't running Windows XP!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: An awful lot of big corps are making $$$$s off closed-source

      I've worked on UK based military stuff, things like windows for warships are not the norm. It's usually (or was 10+ years ago) bespoke software with a good measure of OSS stuff.

  8. wikkity

    Sounds good

    But maybe they should have held off the announcement until they had sorted out copyright issues and had something to release. Sounds like it was one departments job to set up the mechanism to get things published and everyone else needs to start following, I'm guessing someone's employment objectives depended on getting this done

  9. MNGrrrl
    Thumb Down

    Ha Ha, no.

    The government is the *reason* we have shitty code. I'm not going to waste my time auditing YOUR code until YOU give me regulations and transparency in everyone's code, and strip off this crap about "copyright". You don't "copyright" a building design for three billion years *plus* the life of the author... and that's why our buildings don't fall down.

    When you're ready to act like mature adults, give us the same tools every other engineering discipline has. Until then... enjoy your planes falling out of the sky, exploding cell phones, malfunctioning warheads, and every other electronic "warfare" thing being dropped on your stupid asses.


    Every Engineer.



    1. tom dial Silver badge

      Re: Ha Ha, no.

      The claim is not the proof.

      Is there any evidence that the quality of code produced by government employees is inferior to that produced in the private sector (in any country)?

      As an aside, it appears buildings can, in fact, be copyrighted: see

  10. Nolveys

    US military members and their families make significant sacrifices to protect our country.

    We would be speaking Iraqi by now if it wasn't for them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "We would be speaking Iraqi by now if it wasn't for them."

      No, you wouldn't. Perhaps you mean Russian? There is no imminent invasion of Muslims in the US, now or ever in the past. Just pinheads that think white people are not also terrorists, by their own definition. You're an idiot for thinking that. A puppet of Fox News, scared of his own shadow and anyone that is not "white." And even the Cold War was suspect of nationalistic hype and propaganda by both parties involved. And now in the "modern age" asswipes like you proudly vote for an orange idiot and his KGB wife to parade about the White House and smear it with their unAmerican bullshit. That's your claim to fame, and I'll tell you; you're a fucking moron. I'm ex-military, and served during the Reagan administration, and I find people like you unAmerican and disturbed to be so willing to look the other way when Russians hack anyone in our nation. Please fuck off, and don't call yourself an American. You don't have a fucking clue to what it means, idiot.

      1. Nolveys

        It's you that wants us to speak Russian and North Korean, all at the same time. That's right, we'd all be speaking Koussian if people like you were in charge, eating nothing but borscht and kimchi mixed together in giant vats. You think that I'm unAmerican, just wait until you taste borscht and kimchi mixed together. *That's* unAmerican.

        And why shouldn't I call myself an American? What if I want to buy high-quality and low-cost real estate in Detroit? I'd have to call myself an American if I wanted to do that. I guess I could call someone in China as I understand they've been buying property in the area, but they probably aren't ready to sell yet.

        And how dare you speak such treasonous words about The Commander In Chief. Trump is going to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! Not so-so, not just good, not quite as wonderful as wonderful, but GREAT! You don't like things to be GREAT!? Are you from France or something? You call yourself American but at your core beats the heart of a frog. Frogs don't have big American hearts, they have frog-sized hearts. It's frogs like you that make it necessary to build a wall across The Atlantic Ocean and make you frogs pay for it.

        You think that I'm with the Russians when you're clearly the communist, wanting endless regulation over telecommunication companies. That's AMERICAN telecommunication companies. If zero-rating an AT&T backed video streaming service and charging out bandwidth to Netflix at $10/GB isn't what people really want then The Free Market will prevail. You doubt The Free Market? You probably doubt Jesus too. That's what we call a grade-A communist in my neck of the woods.

        Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get back to writing hate mail to Richard Dawkins.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Uncle Sam

    Should make like a tree and gedaddahere.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Totally missing the point... obviously..

    Software freedom. An important subject yet for some also very confusing, because freedom obviously means free ('gratis') software, right? Well, no. Not per definition anyway. Yet for most people "open source" equals "free ("free as in beer") software".

    So what happens when that confusion jumps over to the other side of the fence? From the (end) user to the producer? Then we get into the weird regions of "open source = free labor", which I can't help think also applies here. It sounds ridiculous, but leave it up to a government to fail keeping up with current developments and obviously also not bothering to try and learn from available examples.

    Makes me wonder how long it'll take these dweebs to go 180degrees with their current opinion once it turns out that hardly anyone is going to bother here. Will Open Source then be considered the spawn of evil because it didn't work for them?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Utter BS

    "Open source and free software represent industry best practices, the DoD said in a statement, even as it acknowledged the agency has yet to widely adopt it. represents an attempt to change that dynamic.

    On the project website, the DoD goes so far as to suggest that anything other than open source software puts lives at risk."

    Yet another fallacy about Open Source. Actually 2.

    Open source is not an industry best practice. Nor does non open source code put lives at risk unless you have a bunch of idiots who don't know their shit.

    Sorry, but as someone who has been writing code longer than most of the commentards have been out of nappies, that there is a lot of closed source software that has been running untouched for years. Why? Because it was well engineered and open sourcing it will not change the quality of code that's in production. (E.g. Look at telephone switches, medical diagnostic tools, etc ...)

    There's a reason why companies want Open Source. And its pure BS to imply its better than many closed source alternatives.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Utter BS

      E.g. Look at telephone switches, medical diagnostic tools, etc

      Actually, I've worked on both. My experience precludes me from supporting your assertion that they are of higher quality simply because they are closed-source.

      Example 1: a credit voucher system for prepaid mobile phones that stored usable voucher numbers in the plain, rather than storing a hash (yes, that's effectively real money that the operators have access to, and, yes, a certain amount of "voucher reuse" problems were expected)

      Example 2: Medical diagnostic kit that needs localisation into many languages. The tools to do said l8n don't use something like the GNU tools (gettext), but require you to patch the EXE files. Said tool also crashes (due to licence issues) every time DST changes. Does not inspire confidence.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps finally time to fix...

    If (isAfghanWedding) {



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