NASA requests help finding gov't use of standard OSS licenses.

Tzeng, Nigel H. Nigel.Tzeng at
Tue May 3 13:55:32 UTC 2011


How does NOSA keep the code more "open" than public domain?  I'm fairly
sure that Intellisense's WWJ enhancements for their InteleView applet are
closed source.  I'm also reasonably certain that there are contractors
supporting WWJ development as not all of the core team are NASA employees.


On 5/2/11 4:23 PM, "VanL" <van.lindberg at> wrote:

>On 5/1/2011 8:37 PM, Karl Fogel wrote:
>> Scott Goodwin, CIO of NASA's Space Operations Mission Directorate, is
>> looking for examples of federal agencies releasing open source software
>> under standard OSS licenses -- like BSD, Apache, GNU GPL, etc.
>> Part of the purpose is to evaluate the future of NASA's custom open
>> source license, the NASA Open Source Agreement (NOSA) [1].  As you can
>> see from Scott's message below [2], one possibility is that existing OSS
>> licenses could serve all of NASA's purposes, and that NOSA would no
>> longer be necessary.
>Pardon the history lesson, but I am do not understand how traditional
>licenses would address the original NOSA use case - specifically,
>providing a non-copyright basis for keeping government-written code in
>With reference to source code written by government contractors,
>traditional copyright (and thus traditional licenses) apply. For purely
>government-written code, however, copyright doesn't apply; it is public
>domain by statute.
>The NOSA was designed to emulate the behavior of common open source
>licenses by declaring the government as an intended third party
>beneficiaries to future developments of the code, in theory giving them
>the right to pursue legal action to keep the code open. It performs this
>under contract law principles, though, not copyright principles.

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