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US government shouldn't fear foreign participation in Forge.gov

In an effort to reduce IT costs and boost efficiency, the US federal government is increasingly turning to open source software. We wrote last year about Forge.mil, a code sharing site that was established by the military to encourage broader collaboration and reuse of existing source code throughout the Department of Defense. The US General Services Administration (GSA) is planning to launch a similar site, called Forge.gov, that is intended to serve a related function, but for a broader range of government agencies.

In a recent blog post, Red Hat public sector strategist Gunnar Hellekson described several of the challenges posed by Forge.mil and explained why it's important for Forge.gov to be operated as a more inclusive environment. Various security considerations made it necessary for Forge.mil to be developed as a relatively closed ecosystem, one which is only accessible to DoD employees, contractors, and others who have a DoD Common Access Card. The isolation obviously precludes public participation and leads to military-only forks of mainstream public open source projects.

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