Open Source Software
The GSA moved to an open source-first strategy for the enterprise in August of 2014, confirmed it again in October of 2015, operate against it at the strategic enterprise level, project level and at the data layer. Open source-first is baked into the GSA DNA and is one of our core operating principles.
In addition to the GSA IT’s development of Open.GSA.gov, TTS, a digital services branch within the GSA, develops in-house digital solutions to help agencies meet the needs of the people and businesses they serve.
According to GSA’s Open Source policy: this requires flexibility in how we code, with a focus on lowering costs for the American people, while improving their interactions with the U.S. Government.
The default position of GSA when developing new projects is to: - Use Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), which is software that does not charge users a purchase or licensing fee for modifying or redistributing the source code, in our projects and contribute back to the open source community. - Develop our work in the open. - Publish publicly all source code created or modified by GSA, whether developed in-house by government staff or through contracts negotiated by GSA.
GSA encourages contributions to its open source projects, whether it be code, commentary, bug reports, feature requests, or overall strategic direction. Forks or clones of our code repositories are free to be re-distributed. This means code created by GSA can be integrated into work that is under a more restrictive license, even those that are not considered open source licenses.
This changes when our code repositories include code that was not created by GSA and carries an open license. Code previously released under an open source license and then modified by GSA or its contractors is considered a “joint work” and must be released under terms permitted by the original open source license. The public can use our code as the basis of wholly proprietary and commercial systems. GSA would appreciate that users of our code disclose its lineage, but GSA maintains no legal right to require disclosure. Notifications that our work is used in a new system are always greatly appreciated.