[OSGeo-Discuss] new military OSS policy

Craig Miller craig.miller at spatialminds.com
Tue Oct 27 20:21:00 PDT 2009

I'd like to comment that the government has always been a strong supporter
of FOSS and the DOD has made significant contributions.  This paper
clarifies what is in my opinion a long standing DOD OSS position.


For a long time the US Army, Corp of Engineers developed GRASS GIS and it
was the best solution out there.  The SCS helped fund this software
development work.  It kept pace w/ ESRI for many years before the DOD
decided to go with "Commercial Off The Shelf" (COTS) software and stopped
GRASS development.  Other government workers such as Sol Katz contributed
all sorts of FOSS software.  LT Plus was an early Raster to Vector
conversion program used by the USFS, SCS, and DOD.  NASA has contributed
many more applications, data, and utilities.  I'm not positive, but I'm
pretty sure that the contribution of GRASS makes the DOD the largest
contributor to OSGeo out there.


For years we ran GRASS GIS on Sun workstations.  The fact that it was FOSS
and had the potential of being ported made me try an early 0.9.1 version of
the Linux kernel and Slackware linux distributed on 23 floppy disks.  A few
months later and we had GRASS running on Linux.  By 1994(ish) we had 30
Linux workstations running kernel 0.9.7 and Dan Haskell's port of LTPlus
doing raster to vector data conversion for the Interior Columbia Ecosystem
Management Project (ICBEMP).  Before there was PostGIS, GDAL, QGis,
MapServer, or MapGuide OS the DOD and other government agencies were
inventing OSGeo.  (Note:  See http://ltplus.org)


The DOD paper is notable in that it seems to somewhat reverse the late 90s
decision to push COTS.  Since that time, there has been much less FOSS
running on the military networks.  It's good to hear them make the
clarification that FOSS can be considered COTS, but IMHO the DOD and the US
Government in general should be given credit for their long standing support
of OSGeo/FOSS software.





From: discuss-bounces at lists.osgeo.org
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.osgeo.org] On Behalf Of Bruce Bannerman
Sent: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 4:21 PM
To: discuss at lists.osgeo.org
Subject: Re: [OSGeo-Discuss] new military OSS policy



It is encouraging to see this policy development.

When combined with the new UK Government Policy on Open Source and Open
Standards [1],  I can see that OS (spatial) is finally starting to get some
serious momentum within government circles.

Perhaps other Governments will also start following suit...

Bruce Bannerman

[1] http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/government_it/open_source.aspx

> -----Original Message-----
> From: discuss-bounces at lists.osgeo.org
> [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.osgeo.org] On Behalf Of Miles Fidelman
> Sent: Wednesday, 28 October 2009 4:16 AM
> To: OSGeo Discussions
> Subject: [OSGeo-Discuss] new military OSS policy
> ... fresh from the OSD e-press
> --
> Miles R. Fidelman, Director of Government Programs Traverse
> Technologies
> 145 Tremont Street, 3rd Floor
> Boston, MA  02111
> mfidelman at traversetechnologies.com
> 857-362-8314
> www.traversetechnologies.com


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