The Rise of Open Source

The Department of Defense put out a memo last month that changed its stance on the use of open source software. Now it looks like the government is realizing some of the benefits of open source. For example, it can lead to better security and reliability.

Another benefit from using open source is that ability to not rely on a single vendor. That reduces risk. This guidance comes with some warnings. The government recommends you choose open source products which have a company which stands behind the open source product. That limits the playing field significantly.

Recently we wanted to do some massive changes to the reporting that is done in our system. We considered many technologies. One such choice was to use Adobe PDFs. We found some cool open source code to generate PDFs easily. But there was just too much red tape to overcome to use the libraries. They were created by a single dude. The sounded too risky to our customer. The result was that we went with a Microsoft solution which incurred a lot of developer pain.

Computer Sciences Corporation

My company recently hired a developer who used to work at Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC). This guy had stellar credentials. He had a PhD in computer science. It just so happened that he worked for our customer before. He also had the security clearances we needed. So we snatched him up.

Today my boss told me I could interview another candidate that worked at CSC before. So I was excited. We really need strong developers on our project. I work extra hours, and I still keep falling behind schedule on our contract. Unfortunately the guy I spoke with was a dud. Good thing I did a phone screen interview first.

The thing that caught my eye was that CSC seems to be on the losing end of contract recently. This is causing their work force to be chopped. Their loss is our gain, at least for the good workers. Another buddy of mine was worried that his contract was under recompete, and he feared CSC might not win the work this time around. Let me finish with a positive note for CSC. They just won a $50 contract to support the United States Air Force. The total contract has a base year, plus three option years. My company likes to crush its competitors. But I still hope CSC gets a few contracting crumbs to keep its employees, well, employed.