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Government and open source's open relationship

ITWorld - While the U.S. government has historically leaned towards the use open source software, lately there have been a few signs to remind us the government can still very much be a proprietary software consumer. Is the love affair with open source cooling in the halls of government?

Last week, the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency announced it would be shifting all of its old BlackBerry phones to Apple iPhones, which led to some consternation about why they didn't go with a less-expensive, more open option like Android.

The day before that, at the Red Hat Government Symposium in Washington, DC, Neil Ziring, the Technical Director for the National Security Agency's Information Assurance Directorate made the argument in his talk to the gatherers that open source projects need to start focusing on the origins of their code and documenting it to the satisfaction of those government and industry customers who need to be assured that that code doesn't contain any nasty surprises.

Coming from the NSA, which has invested quite a bit of time and effort in contributing to SELinux, that was a pretty surprising statement. I'll come back this this in a bit.