The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) is the latest government spy agency to take the leap into the open source software community.
Other U.S. spy agencies have also embraced open source technology in recent projects. With security being such an important issue, it might seem counterintuitive to use software whose source code is openly available, but experts say that kind of transparency is one reason open source systems could be more secure—or at least no less secure—that closed systems.
Phi Beta Iota: The NRO is responsible for “feeds and speeds.” The NGA is responsible for the overall geospatial database and advanced to be made in processing, visualization, and field delivery. This is an encouraging first step with two caveats: neither Lockheed nor Red Hat are committed to true blue open source; and the NRO is making the classic mistake of trying to retro-fit open source software to a closed legacy system while avoiding the hard work of holistic analytics, true cost economics, and open source everything engineering — preferably with independent experts not associated with embedded contractors. Now is the time for a serious multinational conference on open source everything.