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Open Source Software

The Contractor shall develop all source code that should become property of the Government, for software deliverables which shall be made available by the contractor to the public as open source software, under the terms and conditions of a license determined or approved by the Government.

“Both the US Digital Services playbook and the 18F open-source policy strongly suggest the use and creation of open-source software in the creation of digital services. Specifically, the 18F policy provides that the ‘default position’ should be 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.’ Based on this default position, vendors who are developing software for the government should also use and create open-source software. In a recent solicitation from the Department of Defense, the government included a requirement that all deliverables by made available to the public as open-source software, and more importantly, affords the government the authority to select the applicable license.

There are permutations of the language, but 18F’s favorite recipe involves requiring not only open-source software, but further requires that all software delivered be dedicated to the public domain under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license.”

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