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Opticks: Releasing a government tool to the open source community
Opticks: Releasing a government tool to the open source community
Opticks: Releasing a government tool to the open source community
Opticks: Releasing a government tool to the open source community
Opticks: Releasing a government tool to the open source community
Opticks: Releasing a government tool to the open source community
Opticks: Releasing a government tool to the open source community
Opticks: Releasing a government tool to the open source community
Opticks: Releasing a government tool to the open source community
Opticks: Releasing a government tool to the open source community
Opticks: Releasing a government tool to the open source community
Opticks: Releasing a government tool to the open source community
Opticks: Releasing a government tool to the open source community
Opticks: Releasing a government tool to the open source community
Opticks: Releasing a government tool to the open source community
Opticks: Releasing a government tool to the open source community
Opticks: Releasing a government tool to the open source community
Opticks: Releasing a government tool to the open source community
Opticks: Releasing a government tool to the open source community
Opticks: Releasing a government tool to the open source community
Opticks: Releasing a government tool to the open source community
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Opticks: Releasing a government tool to the open source community

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Opticks is an open source ELT designed for analysis of imagery, video, spectral, SAR, thermal, and other spatiotemporal data. Opticks was originally developed by Ball Aerospace & Technologies corp. …

Opticks is an open source ELT designed for analysis of imagery, video, spectral, SAR, thermal, and other spatiotemporal data. Opticks was originally developed by Ball Aerospace & Technologies corp. for the US Air Force. In 2007, Ball and the USAF released the core ELT and a number of plug-ins as open source software. This is one the first US department of defense sponsored tools to move from the closed source government domain to the unrestricted open source. This presentation talks about our experience with the process; what went smoothly and what caused delays. We will also discuss some of the latest developments in the military open source world.

Speaker Bio:
Trevor Clarke is a software engineer at Ball Aerospace & Technologies. Trevor has a masters degree in computer science from RIT and is a core contributor to Opticks.

Published in: Technology, News & Politics
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Transcript

  • 1. OpticksReleasing a government tool to the open source community
    Trevor Clarke
    Opticks Developer
    Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.
    tclarke@ball.com
    http://opticks.org
  • 2. Overview
    What is Opticks?
    Why open source?
    What were the early problems?
    Where are we today?
    What have we accomplished?
    Q&A
  • 3. What is Opticks?
  • 4. What is Opticks
    Image and video analysis
    Spectral, SAR, Thermal, EO, WAAS, etc.
    Extendable via scripts and plug-ins
    A number of open and closed source extensions are available
    Intuitive interface
    Supports very large data sets (1TB+)
  • 5. History of Opticks
    Ball Aerospace began development of the legacy COMET program for the USAF in the Spring of 2000
    Initially designed as an alternative to ENVI for common spectral analysis tasks
    Easier to learn interface
    No licensing cost
    Extended to support SAR, thermal, and other data types
    Extensive non-literal processing used in other domains
    Core software open sourced in December 2007
    Additional components open sourced since initial release
  • 6. A note on the name
    Opticks is the spelling used by Sir Isaac Newton in his treatise on light and optical systems
    Adopted due to it’s historical interest, contextual relevance, and uniqueness
  • 7. Why open source?
  • 8. Why did we need to change?
    The COMET program had reached a plateau with out USAF customer
    Continued development funding was stagnant
    Projected to decrease in the out years
    Getting other customers to adopt Opticks as a baseline was difficult
    COTS preferred over GOTS
    Other contractors and government don’t like vendor lock-in
    “Not invented here”
  • 9. Why was open source a good idea?
    “OSS meets the definition of ‘commercial computer software’”1
    Overcome COTS vs. GOTS barrier
    OSS no longer the odd man out when it comes to accreditation
    Ball is a services company, not a software company
    Alleviate fears of vendor lock in (can always be forked)
    Provide new services opportunities
    Facilitate adoption in universities and with independent developers
    Generate buzz
    More opportunities
    1 – DOD Policy Memo “Clarifying Guidance Regarding Open Source Software”, October 2009
  • 10. What were the early problems?
  • 11. Perceived problems
    Internal confusion about OSS
    Contracted with CollabNet to resolve some of the misinformation
    Potential push back from primary customers
    Worked with the AF from the beginning and kept them involved
    The government gets enhancements and bug fixes for no addition cost
    Is this the right kind of software for military OSS?
    OTD identifies “geospatial infrastructure”2 as a starting point for OSS adoption
    2 – “Open Technology Development Roadmap Plan” version 3.1 (final), April 2006
  • 12. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)
    Internal review indicates Opticks is potentially a Defense Article
    Category XXI – Miscellaneous Articles
    Any article not specifically enumerated in the other categories of the U.S. Munitions List which has substantial military applicability and which has been specifically designed or modified for military purposes. The decision on whether any article may be included in this category shall be made by the Director of the Office of Defense Trade Controls.
    Technical data (as defined in § 120.21 of this subchapter) and defense services (as defined in § 120.8 of this subchapter) directly related to the defense articles enumerated in paragraphs (a) of this category.
    Requested initial Public Release Authorization from the Office of Security Review
    All enhancements to Opticks are internally reviewed by the Ball Aerospace ITAR Empowered Official before implementation
  • 13. License Selection
    Lesser GNU Public License (LGPL) v2.1
    Allows plug-ins to be closed source
    Proprietary technologies
    Classified algorithms
    “Warm fuzzies” for other contractors
    Main application and standard extensions remain open source
    Can be forked but changes must remain LGPL
    “Warm fuzzies” for Ball and AF customer
    Well known license
    Well vetted and understood
    Accepted by the FOSS community
  • 14. Where are we today?
  • 15. Status of Opticks
    Website hosted offsite from Ball
    Maintenance paid for by Ball
    Source code and mailing lists hosted on Sourceforge
    No financial commitment from Ball aside from personnel time
    Multiple government projects are using Opticks as their foundation
    More contract work than previously
    Some new work directly attributable to OSS
    Presence on software.forge.mil (US DOD repository for open development)
  • 16. Status of Opticks
    Applied for OSGEO incubation
    Google Summer of Code (GSoC)
    2010 – 2 students
    2011 – 3 students
    ESA Summer of Code In Space (SOCIS)
    2011 – 1 student during inaugural year for the program.
    American River College
    Nathan Jennings uses Opticks in GIS course
    NOAA
    Deployed on 50+ workstations
    Colorado University
    Working with Dr. Weatherhead on seal counting system
  • 17. Ongoing issues
    Contributions
    Small contributions are easy to handle
    Submit a patch to the mailing list
    A core contributor “takes ownership” of the patch
    Large contributions are not so easy
    Should have formal procedures which don’t’ yet exist
    How do we handle copyright?
    How do we handle security and code reviews?
    We have thought about possible solutions but can’t properly evaluate them until we begin receiving large contributions
    Governance
    All core contributors are Ball employees or former Ball employees
    No formal governance board
    How do we handle core contributors/board members not affiliated with Ball or USAF?
  • 18.
  • 19. What have we accomplished?
  • 20. Accomplishments
    Advanced OSS advocacy in US AF intelligence circles
    Led the adoption of the OSS business model as a viable model within Ball Aerospace
    Established Opticks as a successful military open source venture
  • 21. Q&A
    Presentation available at http://slideshare.net
    More military open source information: http://mil-oss.org
    Trevor Clarke
    Opticks Developer
    Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.
    tclarke@ball.com
    http://opticks.org

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