White House finalizes Federal Source Code policy; will launch Code.gov within 90 days

Under the White House's Federal Source Code policy, federal agencies must release at least 20 percent of their newly written source code as open-source software.
Under the White House's Federal Source Code policy, federal agencies must release at least 20 percent of their newly written source code as open-source software.

The White House on Monday published its finalized Federal Source Code policy, designed to encourage federal agencies to share code with each other, as well as the open-source software (OSS) development community.

The policy, a draft of which was released last March for public comment, requires that any new custom source code developed by or for the U.S. government be made available for re-use across all federal agencies, in an effort to reduce duplicative spending on software. Under a three-year pilot program, agencies must also publicly release at least 20 percent of their new custom source code as OSS. For national security reasons, cybersecurity code is exempt.

According to the policy, the Obama administration will within 90 days launch a new website, Code.gov, that will offer “tools, guides, and best practices specifically designed to help agencies implement” the policy. “Second, it will serve as the primary discoverability portal for custom-developed code intended both for government-wide reuse and for potential release as OSS.”

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