NASA Releases Proceedings, Recommendations From First Open Source Summit

Organizers of NASA’s first Open Source Summit have released a summary of its proceedings that could serve as a model for other federal agencies wanting to conduct similar conferences for their own open source developer communities. The 85-page report documents how the event was organized, collaboration tools used, user statistics, attendee list, schedule and media coverage.

According to NASA, the Open Source Summit, held March 29-30 at Ames Research Center in Mountain View, CA, was established “to discuss current challenges with NASA’s open source policy framework, and propose modifications that would make it easier for NASA to develop, release, and use open source software.”

From the report:

Although open source release has already provided some of the potential benefits to NASA, the full benefits of open source can only be realized if NASA is able to establish the processes, policies, and culture needed to encourage and support open source development. This will require expanding open source activities beyond releasing software only after completion and finding new ways to support two-way collaboration with an open development community throughout the entire software lifecycle.


Event metrics include Google Docs, Ustream (2,315 views), Uservoice (47 unique ideas, 638, 125 comments), Twitter (1,250 tweets) and teleconferencing tool Maestro (60 people, 2,578 minutes of call time).

Major issues and recommendations address:

  • Communication and publicizing NASA’s open source efforts
  • Licensing
  • Barriers to involvement from the open source community
  • Barriers to development models and ongoing support
  • Government restrictions
  • Limitations on contributing to external open source projects
  • How does open source governance look within NASA?
  • How should open source efforts be supported?
  • How does NASA open source “everything?”
  • How to close the feedback loop between policy makers, developers and end users?
  • How to encourage cultural change in hiring practices?
  • How to package open source software to be more accessible?
  • Combining open source software development standards with Office of the Chief Engineer Policies

Full report


NASA Open Source Summit Proceedings

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