Ozone Widget Framework to be on GitHub now by year's end


Military open source advocates say that code for a National Security Agency-led framework for lightweight application development should be posted on GitHub by the end of this calendar year.

An original intention to post the code for the Ozone Widget Framework by Sept. 30 got bogged down in clearance issues, said Dan Risacher, associate director for enterprise services and integration in the Defense Department office of the chief information officer, and an open source evangelist.

The code and its documentation had to go through an NSA public publication clearance review and new rules permitting OWF development contractors to be able to talk publicly about the effort needed to be drafted.

"Typical guidance is that contractors for the intelligence community can't say anything about what they do," Risacher said, but contractors and government staff will need to be able to talk about OWF openly in mailing lists. There does already exist an OWF Google Group, but it's currently closed.

The framework still requires one last approval from NSA before it can go onto GitHub, he added.

In preparation for the code's public release, developers have done some rearchitecting, removing what Risacher said was a proprietary component and a module that applies classification markings. Those markings are necessary for government users, but there was resistance to releasing the module as open source. Instead, markings will be applied to OWF-developed applications at install time, Risacher said.

Developers also plan on a major rearchitecting of the code in 2013, a process that will be done openly, Risacher said.

"If people want to see the nightly snapshots, that'll be available. We're getting out of the business of doing all the work behind closed doors and putting out quarterly releases."

Public users will be able to send patches via GitHub pull requests. Federal employees in agencies prohibited from using GitHub will be able to manually send patches, Risacher said.

Federal civilian agencies as well as some state and local governments have already expressed interest in adopting the framework, he added.

For more:
- go to GitHub

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