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3 Open Source Myths Debunked

Open source has proven to be a secure, cost-effective and high quality software solution. So why are so many agencies reluctant to adopt an open source platform? It turns out that many of the obstacles to open source cited by technology personnel are based on myths. We spoke with Chris Mattmann, senior computer scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), to discuss some of these myths and share how NASA is using open source.

You can explore the full case study of how NASA transformed operations with open source in our latest guide, Agency of the Future: Open Source.

Read the Guide Below Online or Download PDF

In this post, Mattmann dispels three dangerous myths standing in the way of the benefits of open source:

Myth: Moving to open source means sacrificing quality

Fact: NASA rigorously tested open source software and analyzed its performance in comparison to proprietary software. “These assessments showed how open source can actually yield better quality code, how it is more continuously integrated and tested, and how it is more free of bugs,” said Mattman.

Myth: Open source opens up your code to cyber threats

Fact: Mattman advised there are many easy steps to be taken to prevent someone not on the project from modifying code in a detrimental way. “We can dispel this myth through educating people on the techniques for insulation, as you would any technology,” suggested Mattman. In addition, open source has an important security advantage over proprietary software: In the even the cod gets hacked, you know the writers of the code and can reach out to quickly mitigate threats.

Myth: Open source is not optimal for government agencies

Fact: As with any technology, there are unique concerns for the public sector, but that does not mean agencies should simply stick to the status quo. Mattman recommends working with a vendor to help make sense of the procurement process in open source to ensure compliance.

Open source worked for NASA, and our guide shows how it will most likely work for your agency as well.

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