Open source software development allows free access to software source code to allow anyone to make improvements and is revolutionizing the way software is created, improved, and used. The open source software movement is inherently transparent, participatory, and collaborative. Open source at NASA gives the public direct and ongoing access to NASA technology. Its adoption by NASA also helps lower the barrier to entry into space by enabling private industry to better make use of NASA investments.
A major goal of the Open Government Office is to work to establish a comprehensive open source policy within the agency that enables innovation and collaboration between both NASA employees, contractors, and the public.This would shift our open source activities from its one-way direction of giving the public access to finalized software products, to allowing two-way collaboration as part of the development process. The benefits of allowing the public to assist in development of NASA software include increased software quality, accelerated software development, and a higher rate of technology transfer both to and from NASA.
In March 2011, NASA hosted an Open Source Summit at Ames Research Center. Focused on addressing the core challenges NASA is encountering behind open source development and producing real, actionable solutions, the Summit brought together many of the best minds in development from both inside and outside the agency. Over 600 in-person and virtual attendees collaborated on a variety of issues including ITAR policies, governance, and risk assessments.