Last week, the White House Office of Budget and Management release its Federal Source Code policy, requiring government agencies to share some of the code it creates.
The new Federal Source Code policy is part of President Obama’s 2014 Second Open Government National Action Plan. The proposal requires agencies, when commissioning new custom software, to release at least 20 percent of new custom-developed code as open source software (OSS) for three years. This allows for the government to keep some of its code a secret. Code developed for national security agencies are exempt from the new policy.
In a memo, the White House Office of Budget and Management said “even when agencies are in a position to make their source code available on a government-wide basis, they do not make such code available to other agencies in a consistent manner.” The shared portion of government created code will go live within the next 90 days.
White House chief information officer, Tony Scott, has dubbed the program “The People’s Code” because the new policy encourages agencies to hire outside coders. This will create new engineering jobs. It will also open the U.S. government to provide more transparency.