NASA Technical Report Recommends Adopting Mozilla Public License

Sunday May 18th, 2003

Adam Hauner wrote in to tell us about a NASA technical report which recommends that the US space agency distribute some of their software under the Mozilla Public License. The report, by Patrick J. Moran of the NAS Systems Division at the NASA Ames Research Center, explains how open source is compatible with NASA's mission and evaluates several licenses before recommending that the Mozilla Public License be an option for software distribution.

The document lists several reasons why the MPL was chosen: "the license is recognized by the Open Source Initiative, there would be no need to develop yet another license and submit it to the OSI for approval; by requiring that derived work also be Open Source, NASA has some assurance that derivative works will be available to the agency; the license was developed with input from legal and technical experts and subjected to public review, it appears to be one of the more carefully written licenses available; the license does not have the GPL 'license capture' feature, in general it does not have the political baggage of the GNU licenses."

The report was published last month and featured on Slashdot on Friday. There's also an article on CNET

#3 Re: How would an open model effect national securi

by ksheka

Monday May 19th, 2003 6:39 AM

You are replying to this message

From what I understand about the open software liscenses as a group, the source code must be made available to anyone that gets binary access to the program. Therefore, any software that is used exclusively in-house would not have to share the source code to the rest of the world.

This way the NSA, CIA, NASA, etc. can modify open source software without any worries *unless* they want to redistribute the software. Then they have to release all the source to whatever binaries they release.

Since these guys won't be releasing binaries (since they can always be reverse engineered), there's really no good reason for them to not use open source software.

If, of course, I understand the liscenses correctly. :-)