Navy CIO approves open-source software use

After several years of evaluation, the Navy Department has approved the use of open-source software in all Navy and Marine Corps information technology systems.

A June 5 memo from Navy Chief Information Officer Robert Carey gives open-source platforms the same status as commercial and government off-the-shelf software products, specifying that Navy IT administrators should consider open-source code for all acquisitions and can use it if they determine it to be the superior product.

In writing

The department 'recognizes the importance of [open-source software] to the warfighter and the need to leverage its benefits throughout the [Department of the Navy],' according to the memo.

In 2004, the Navy's previous CIO, David Wennergren, formed a working group to formulate the Navy's open-source software policy based on positive results from a cooperative research and development agreement between the Naval Oceanographic Office of the department's Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command and the industry-backed Open Source Software Institute.

The policy 'simply says that open-source software has an official seat at the Navy table,' said John Weathersby, executive director of the Open Source Software Institute and a member of the Navy's Open Source Working Group.

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