WASHINGTON: Hey, defense contractors! Open source software is not your enemy. In fact, far from undercutting your profits, it may increase them – and increase the US military’s capabilities at the same time. That’s a central concept in the Center for a New American Security’s recently established Technology and Security program, which aims to shake up how government and business keep pace with ever-changing technology, an ever-increasing concern for military leaders.
“Open source doesn’t mean free, open source means better – and it actually might mean more expensive, it might actually be more money,” CNAS adjunct Peter Levin, who’ll help run the new program, told me in an interview on Friday. “There’s nothing about open-source and open standards that in any way implies lower cost.”
“Open source software,” Levin lamented, “is anathema to the defense contacting community ….They immediately, reflexively, allergically react and say you are trying to give away for free what I make money at, and oh by the way you’re compromising national security.” Not so, he said.