The Obama administration launched Thursday Code.gov, a new repository for government open source code now featuring nearly 50 open source projects from more than 10 agencies.
Coders can expect to see more projects on the site in the coming months as agencies implement the recently released Federal Source Code Policy, U.S. CIO Tony Scott said in a blog post announcing the launch.
The Federal Source Code Policy seeks to get agencies to release more of their custom-developed software. The policy notably establishes a pilot program requiring agencies to release at least 20 percent of new custom-developed code as open source software.
Code.gov is not just a repository, however, but also a resource for agencies to use when implementing the policy, Scott wrote. For example, Code.gov features a metadata schema for agencies to use when building out their enterprise code inventories and includes information on how to build successful open source projects.
“We’re excited about today’s launch, and envision Code.gov becoming yet another creative platform that gives citizens the ability to participate in making government services more effective, accessible, and transparent,” Scott wrote in the post. “We also envision it becoming a useful resource for state and local governments and developers looking to tap into the Government’s code to build similar services, foster new connections with their users and help us continue to realize the President’s vision for a 21st Century digital government.”
Earlier this week Department of Homeland Security CTO Michael Hermus noted government is going to need to work on building community around its open source work.
“Without that community you can’t just stick it out there and hope magic happens — you have to govern it and manage and harness that community out there,” he said.
The policy is great for promoting open source development, Hermus said Wednesday at the 2016 Red Hat Government Symposium, noting “this is a sign of the fact that the current administration and the current community is really pushing forward in this direction.”
But he also acknowledged, “we still have a lot of work in implementing and adopting this and figuring out how it all works.”
Scott in his blog post cites several new open source digital tools that have sprung up during the Obama administration, including Vote.gov, Vets.gov, the citizen petition site We the People, the White House Facebook bot and Data.gov.
“The code for these platforms is, after all, the People’s Code – and today we’re excited to announce that it’ll be accessible from one place, Code.gov, for the American people to explore, improve, and innovate,” he wrote.