DISA moves to sole source open source support contract
The Defense Information Systems Agency says it intends to sole source an open source support contract for software that in fact appears to be commonly supported.
In an Aug. 14 notice posted onto FedBizOps, DISA says only Broomfield, Colo.-based Open Logic is able to provide support for open source software utilized by the Wounded Warrior traumatic brain injury and behavioral health project managed by the Defense Health Information Management System.
Among the software that DISA says only Open Logic can support is OpenLDAP, an open source implementation of the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, and the Spring Framework, an application development framework for enterprise Java.
"This software previously has been integrated into the production environment, successfully tested, and is integral to the overall functioning of the TBI-BH project," says a DISA justification and approval document (.doc).
None of the applications listed in the justification and approval appear to have been developed by Open Logic itself. Some of them are part of the Apache Software Foundation or in SourceForge, but the document appears to assume that they are Open Logic products when it states that "needs will be re-assessed when the current software solution is replaced within the project to include consideration of others vendors' products."
Another statement in the justification and approval says that "this maintenance is available through Open Market and SEWP, and is a stock item. It does not need to be specifically produced," but it's unclear whether that amounts to a recommendation for or against sole-sourcing. We've asked DISA for a clarification and will update if they respond.
UPDATE AUG. 17--Open Logic sent the following statement:
"One very critical piece of our open source support model is our service level agreements (SLA's) and the fact that we aggregate support on literally hundreds of open source software components. To the best of our knowledge there is no other commercial open source support provider in the world that guarantee's in a contractual obligation to customers both a response and a resolution with in a specific time period on as many OSS products as we do.
We work very closely with open source software communities (for e.g. the Apache software foundation committers) if their expertise is needed to meet our SLA's and fulfill our obligations to support customers.
Organizations can probably acquire comparable SLA support from multiple vendors on multiple products but when support expertise is needed to address issues in a highly integrated environment most customers don't have the time to coordinate support resources from different vendors to efficiently provide resolution."
UPDATE: Here is DISA's statement:
The government is looking for commercial maintenance support of specific open source software being used on government systems. It used the brand-name/sole source statement to indicate that specific brand-name software must be supported/maintained (a brand-name requirement). The maintenance contract is open source and considered COTS, meaning that nothing has to be developed specifically for this contract.
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