U.S. Department of Defense: Enlisting Open-Source Applications
1. Given the critical nature of defense activities, security in this environment is a primary concern. How do the agencies discussed in the case address this issue? Can you think of anything else they could be doing? Provide some recommendations.
Although open source software may seem less secure than proprietary software, it might be the other way around. Since the code is openly accessible to a lot of programmers, bugs and loopholes are constantly being checked and fixed, unlike proprietary software where the company still has to wait for the next release from the author or company that created it. But being secure doesn’t ...view middle of the document...
This means changes to the organization’s software can be applied faster and will likely cause fewer disruptions in operations. However, there will be disruptions when the company implements its first batch of open source software as they will likely have compatibility issues with the existing proprietary software that are still being used in the organization.
Open source software are often less user-friendly and don’t look as nice though. Since majority of the open source crowd are developers, focus is mostly on functionality and security – its main strengths. While aesthetics is likely not important in the Department of Defense, it is specified in the article that ease of use is. So, this is something that they should deliberate on. Another advantage of open source is the low cost. Some proprietary software become too expensive even for big companies as their license is per computer.
We believe that open source software also has better support that is often found in forums with experienced users and in wikis. However, this only applies to the more popular software.
3. After reading the case, do you think the shift to opensource software involved a major...