Recommendations to clarify NASA open source requirements

11/03/2021
by   John D. Haiducek, et al.
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The software community has specific definitions for terms such as "open source software," "free software," and "permissive license," but scientists proposing software development efforts to NASA are not always knowledgeable about these definitions. Misunderstandings about the meaning of these terms can result in problems of fairness with solicitations, because scientists who interpret the terms differently than NASA intends may either needlessly limit the scope of their proposed work, or unwittingly propose work that does not comply with software licensing requirements. It is therefore recommended that NASA adopt definitions of the above terms that are in line with software community usage, that these definitions be communicated as part of solicitations to ensure a common understanding, and that proposals be required to identify what software licenses the proposers expect to use.

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