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

Tzeng, Nigel H. Nigel.Tzeng at
Tue May 3 14:17:30 UTC 2011

On 5/3/11 9:42 AM, "VanL" <van.lindberg at> wrote:

>The problem was that frequently contractors would take NASA-written code
>in the public domain, trivially modify it, and then sell it back to the
>government at a large markup. Note that this is still happening - see
>the many closed forks of VistA.

Trivial modifications can be trivially replicated by another contractor.
Closed forks of VistA either have extremely gullible customers or provide
additional functionality these customers deem useful enough to pay for.

Can you provide examples where trivial modifications of NASA code was
resold to the federal government at a large markup?

As I said, I've heard this said by a sponsor or two (maybe two) but it
does not appear to be a significant issue for the sponsors I've worked

>> Now, if what NASA wants is the ability to copyleft, then that's an
>> interesting proposition, but it's a specialized case of simply wanting
>> to open source the code, which they can do without NOSA or any other
>> license/contract.
>Well, maybe. The perception at NASA was that because open source depends
>on copyright, the government could not effectively open source code.

Given that the NSA had released SE-Linux in 2000 and NOSA 1.1 submitted
for approval in 2004 I'm curious if you have evidence of this perception?

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