NASA, like any other major enterprise, is a heavy user of open source and Linux. Now the agency is planning to open source its main portal NASA.gov and internal Intranet insidenasa.nasa.gov.
The space agency recently (Feb 6) posted a draft Statement of Work (SOW) seeking vendors to submit their response to the request for information.
Open Source source to invade Earth
Open Source is becoming a norm in the online world. However many government agencies are still stuck in proprietary, age old technologies.
Nick Skytland, Program Manager, Open Government, NASA, points out, "The use of open source software, cloud computing technologies, and an integrated approach to search, video, and social media seems almost common-place in industry these days. Yet government websites aren’t quite there with the exception of a few noteable exceptions (not an exhaustive list by any means)."
That's what makes NASA's Request for Information so important as it emphasises on the use of vendor neutral, open source technologies. RFI clearly states:
1. We will strive for vendor independence through the use of open source software.
2. We will prefer COTS, GOTS and Open Source solutions over custom built solutions. This includes cloud offerings.
3. Open standards based solutions will be utilized over closed proprietary solutions.
This is not a small task. As Nick explains, "nasa.gov is a very high profile website with more around 600,000 unique visitors and 43 million “hits” per day. The architecture itself is massive, with roughly 140 disparate websites and web applications and more total 700,000 web pages across 10 centers. It’s no small job and we need someone who can help usher us into the future and develop a web architecture appropriate for an agency like NASA. This is one of the greatest jobs on Earth and we are looking to you to help."
This is a great opportunit for open source vendors. "RFI responses must be submitted no later than 3:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on March 6, 2012!"