The DOD’s second Open Technology Development Roadmap has been released: “Open Technology Development: Lessons Learned and Best Practices“. It’s a handbook for using and making open source in the DOD and the US Government, sponsored by the Secretary of Defense. It provides practical advice on policy, procurement, and good community governance, all under a Creative Commons license. I’ll be providing some more commentary later, but this is a huge step forward in the adoption of open source in the US Government.
Over the last couple years, many of us involved with open source in government have had discussions about what it means for citizen coders to become involved in state, local and federal efforts. There are all kinds of legal, ethical, and logistics questions that haven’t been answered. Everyone seems to be solving them individually, but it’s not well-coordinated. This means that agencies who want to engage developers are wasting valuable time trying to figure out the “right way” to work with the public.
The domain is large and already bearing fruit; I think we’re all enthusiastic about CivicCommons, CrisisCommons, and a host of public service oriented application development contests in many major cities.
I had a chance to talk with Matthew Burton, the former intelligence analyst turned open source cause celebre who just launched a tool that helps frame and understand arguments with imperfect evidence. It’s based on method called Analysis of Competing Hypotheses (ACH), which has been around for quite some time. Matthew and his friend Josh Knowles, though, have a tool that allows the ACH method to be used by multiple participants simultaneously. It’s fascinating stuff, so I’m grateful that he took the time to talk with me.
On a personal note: I’m delighted to see that Matthew is a fellow emdash enthusiast, as you’ll see below.
This is the ignite presentation I gave for the Mil-OSS WG2 conference today. It’s a tremendous group of sandal-shod revolutionaries who want to bring open source and the US Department of Defense together. You can sign up for the mailing list here. If you use your imagination and insert a lot of stumbling, fumbling, and false starts to this, you’ll have a pretty good idea of how it went. You can find the full presentation here. [Update: Josh posted a video of my presentation, so you don't have to imagine it.]