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October 24, 2008

Comments

James Lorenzen

I am curious to know when you attend or speak at these conferences, do you ever mention Gestalt's work in Open Source?

Jim S.

@James Of course!

Joshua Hoover

Agreed. The vision laid out for OTD was a good first step. Now DOD programs need to push for the implementation of OTD. Without contracts stipulating an OTD approach, I don't see OTD being much more than a good white paper that defense contractors pay lip service to.

On a somewhat related note... It seems like DISA could help provide infrastructure (ala java.net and the various "forges" out there) to remove the hassle of having each contractor setting up their own community infrastructure.

Perry

Jim -

I'm the executive director for a government run open source game engine, which is designed to fit into the game/sim/training area of the government. We started out looking for a way to build the infrastructure for training apps in house after we got sick of paying large licenses (especially per seat licenses, a holdover from a previous era in M & S.) for what was essentially commodity software. Some far sighted people (especially VADM Al Harms) saw the potential and gave us some funding early, and we've been building the infrastructure you describe ever since.

John Scott and I are presenting a paper at I/ITSEC this year about lessons from DoD use and building of OSS. I'm not making it out to the DoD OTC this year, but I'd love to talk to you about some ideas about what must be done to get more OSS built in the government and included in government projects. If interested in talking to me, contact me at mcdowell at nps edu.

Perry McDowell
Executive Director
Delta3D Open Source Game Engine
http://delta3d.org

Scott

In regards to WebTAS and similar efforts, I believe that projects like WebTAS ought to exist as a set of requirements (visualization, collaboration, openness to data sources, whatever). There are plenty of commercial companies out there doing this by the way. What makes the government think that the one contractor they pay to build this, who probably hasn't built their business around this type of solution (or else they'd have a COTS product of their own) is going to build the best product? The WebTAS deliverable ought to be whichever COTS product combined with a defined level of effort (budget) for integration and customization can closest achieve the stated requirements. I agree that if the government ever goes down the road of creating a product like WebTAS, it should become an open source project and available for government or industry to improve upon. But I believe that commercial, profit driven, companies will eventually deliver superior solutions in the long run, even if it is the commercial stewardship of open source products (ex. Red Hat). I concede there are a few niche's and examples where open source solutions may not be bested by commercial solutions until technology requirements change because they are either so simple or so good.

Jim Stogdill

Scott, I agree that profit driven companies will deliver superior solutions when a market for the product also exists outside of the DoD (I assume you mean product oriented companies, after all the makers of WebTAS are also "profit driven"). I think what potentially makes things like WebTAS interesting is that to the degree that they represent components of a unique DoD-specific stack I'd like to see them built as open source by the DoD's contractors.

The other benefit of doing it with open source will be the transparency. If they aren't really adding value compared with commercial or other open source alternatives, it will be much more obvious.

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