Reaching It's Potential: How to Make Government-Developed OSS A Major Player


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Reaching It's Potential: How to Make Government-Developed OSS A Major Player
Perry McDowell,

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  • If you have any questions, ask them when they occur to you rather than waiting until the end – I think it works better that way.Finish w/ “I’ll start w/ an overview of MOVES, which IS important for this talk.”15 secTotal: 15 sec
  • Everyone has a mission statement, we have one too.What’s important is in the yellow, but some things in yellow are BOLDED, they must be REALLYIMPORTANT.Today, everyone uses M&S, what do we do?Similar to the fact that every engineering discipline uses PHYSICS, but there is still a Physics Dept to keep improving the knowledge.
  • How many have seen Spinal Tap?Very familiar to the most famous scene in that movie, the ELEVEN scene.You go to a booth and ask, “What does your project do?”A: “This one has a much higher resolution.”Q: “And how does that improve training?”A: “Well, if your apps not training people correctly, you can increase the resolution, and then, well, you’ve got more resolution.”Q: “And how does that improve training?”LONG PAUSEA: “This one has more resolution.”
  • Future: more sensors, more networks, greater interdependenceEnvironment, energy, economy – global.Social impact
  • Of course not, I wouldn’t be asking this question if the answer was “YES” would I?So how did I get into managing an open source project for the last seven years?Short version of Delta3D story: We had two USMC students who did a great thesis, and the USMC wanted to distribute their project to all Marines.Couldn’t, due to proprietary licenses
  • VBS2 is a proprietary game based training system, originally based upon the Operation Flashpoint game. Run by Bohemia Interactive (BI), and the latest version is on the same engine as the Armed Assault game.
  • Okay, great, you can’t compete, so what????We should want the best solution, which today is VBS2, not try to meet a philosophical bent.
  • Pete might leave or be replaced – no guarantee CEO will always be so DoD centric.Pete may be forced to change – profit is too small.Or any one of a thousand problems.
  • And even if Pete stays, there’s no guarantee he’ll remain the good guy.Hulk Hogan, the good-est of all the good guys in wrestling, did a “heel-turn” and took a steel chair to “Macho Man’s” head
  • Question: How did you get permission to release as OSS?Kinda shocked, hadn’t really thought about it: did I really need permission to do this? I live in the academic world, which is significantly different from the government labs world.And partially my answer was something I learned from a very wise woman… CLICK!!!
  • RADM Grace Hopper, a legend in the CS world, would come and talk at the Naval Academy to each plebe class. She would also give away nanoseconds <CLICK> and I still have mine.When I heard her, she wasn’t nearly as young as she is in this picture. She seemed like 300 years old when I saw her.What the Admiral put out as the most important rule of her career, and I don’t think that she was the first to come up with this, but she was the first I heard it from, was “It is much easier to beg forgiveness after than get permission beforehand.”I’ve always tended to follow this. Looking at someone with a stupid look on your face, and saying “Gee, I’m sorry, I didn’t know” seems to have worked pretty well in my career, except to when I was running nuclear power plants.
  • We just did it.But this lab, they <CLICK> had to get permission from their PAO to release their code as OSS.Think about that for a second… <CLICK>
  • THEY NEEDED TO GET PERMISSION FORM THEIR PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER.I have heard of MANY stupid things in my time in and working for the military, but that might be one of the stupidest. Is there anyone in their organization who knew less about computer code and the rationale for releasing it as OSS?What, was the base chaplain too busy? Why didn’t they get the welfare and rec officer’s opinion on it?I told this story because it demonstrates how convoluted just RELEASING code as OSS can be.So you can imagine how difficult it will be to shift all code to an outside organization.Now, David Wheeler came up with a matrix at lunch which might answer this question, but here are my thoughts <CLICK>
  • DoD CIO needs to disseminate a memo describing how to transition OSS from government organizations to outside organizationsSince I believe in open source, so I don’t necessarily think that this is the perfect answer, so I’m hoping that you can help me work on this to make it pretty close to perfect, or as close as possible.Now, I’m going to parse this to try to explain how I came up with this by going over the questions they teach at journalism school so that you can understand my rationale and, hopefully, it will spark some thoughts in your minds, which we can discuss later.My lawyer won’t return my calls.
  • WHO – DoD CIO <CLICK>RATIONALE: He wrote the memo on using OSS – seemed like a good person, and I knew Dan would be here, and I hope to pin him down on this while here.
  • What – take away from gov’t orgs.RATIONALE: Gov’t can’t do crap well.
  • What – give to outside orgs.What is best type of organization?Company: Gov’t doesn’t have to pay for, but same problem as BI: they can do the Hulk “heel turn”Symposium: Who controls?
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