Navy joins open-source effort

Linux fans will be able to make the song "In the Navy" a reality under a new research program set to create links between the software industry and the Department of Defense.

CNET News staff
2 min read
By Matthew Broersma

Linux fans will have a chance to make the Village People song a reality and get "In the Navy" under a research program announced Wednesday.

The U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office, which relies on Linux for many of its information-gathering activities, has linked with the Open Source Software Institute (OSSI) to study how the Navy might improve its use of open-source programs. A cooperative research and development agreement between the two organizations is designed both to produce a technical report and recommendations and to create links between the software industry and the Department of Defense.

"This is an excellent opportunity for members of the open-source community to work with representatives of the Navy," OSSI chairman John Weathersby said in a statement.

The open-source model requires developers to make their software improvements available to the community and allows programmers direct access to the software source code, which can be modified at will. Linux is the best-known example of open-source software.

Open-source software and Linux are popular with some large scientific and research organizations because it allows them full control over the software.

"After an initial review, we found significant interest in the use of open-source software, particularly Linux, within some of our departments," John Lever, the Oceanographic Office's chief information officer, said in a statement. He said the agreement would allow the office to explore expanding Linux use into more areas.

The Oceanographic Office collects and analyzes data for the Navy and other Department of Defense agencies by airborne, surface and underwater platforms. It hosts one of the world's largest supercomputing centers and the world's largest oceanographic library.

The research project will be administered through the office's headquarters at the Stennis Space Center on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The nonprofit OSSI is made up of industry, academic and government representatives and is designed to promote open-source software within federal and state government and academic bodies.

Staff writer Matthew Broersma reported from London.