NASA, like many mega organisations uses Free Software or Open Source due to the uncountable advantes it has over the proprietary technologies. NASA has been a user of open source forever, but we did not see much code coming out. Which is totally fine. You don't have to relase the code of the work that you use. But, if you do it will benefit everyone.
In addition, if the code is of no use to the rest of the world, there is no point in releasing it either. However, a lot of what NASA does enhances the quality of life and software is no exception.
The new website that NASA has launched is called Open.NASA with the goal to "...unify, and expand NASA’s open source activities. The site will serve to surface existing projects, provide a forum for discussing projects and processes, and guide internal and external groups in open development, release, and contribution."
William Eshagh writes on Nasa blog, "In our initial release, we are focusing on providing a home for the current state of open source at the Agency. This includes guidance on how to engage the open source process, points of contact, and a directory of existing projects. By elucidating the process, we hope to lower the barriers to building open technology in partnership with the public."
Once this is achieved, NASA will focus on "providing a robust forum for ongoing discussion of open source concepts, policies, and projects at the Agency. In our third phase, we will turn to the tools and mechanisms development projects generally need to be successful, such as distributed version control, issue tracking, continuous integration, documentation, communication, and planning/management. During this phase, we will create and host a tool, service, and process chain to further lower the burden to going open."
So, what is NASA trying to do here with this new website? What is their ultimate goal?
"Ultimately, our goal is to create a highly visible community hub that will imbue open concepts into the formulation stages of new hardware and software projects, and help existing projects transition to open modes of development and operation," says Eshag.
But, NASA needs your help. If you are free software/open source user please 'share your ideas' on the initiative in the comments below.