When people and programmers are given access to aspects of fundamental code, positive things can happen. Bugs are found and fixed and security holes are patched...Software is made better or even adapted to different needs.
The ubiquitous open source model has become so dominant in the private sector that US government is seeing its advantages and its true potential to the extent that the Federal Chief Information Officer of the United States, Tony Scott released a blog post entitled "Leveraging American Ingenuity through Reusable and Open Source Software" which outlines the Obama administration’s plans to bring open source to the government.
In the White House’s draft vision, government agencies will be able to share code and address inefficiencies over time, saving one agency from reinventing the wheel where another has already done the work.
It’s not yet policy but at this point a launching pad for greater things.
As Scott wrote in the blog post:
“We’re releasing for public comment a draft Federal Source Code policy to support improved access to custom software code.” “This policy will require new software developed specifically for or by the Federal Government to be made available for sharing and re-use across Federal agencies. It also includes a pilot program that will result in a portion of that new federally-funded custom code being released to the public,”
But its not just about sharing code but would also instruct agencies to use open source pieces to build the software itself whenever possible.
If government can successfully move this initiative along and it survives the transition of the next elected administration, it could eventually revolutionize the way the public and US government shares code project for the public good echoing better governance and systems.