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

#5 Re: How would an open model...

by jgraham

Monday May 19th, 2003 12:21 PM

You are replying to this message

>If NASA is working on software that could have an impact on national security, could NASA remove the MPL from the code?

I don't think the plan is to release flight control software under any lisense, let alone open source. The idea is that tools developed in NASA, for example scientific or mathematical packages would be open sourced so that they could be used by the entire academic community. They might also continue to release some software in a closed source form.

On a different note, did anyone else notice that the license comparision in the report is lifted almost directly from the MPL FAQ.