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CDT Announces Open Source Policy in Technology Letter

The California Department of Technology has new policies regarding open source code.

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The California Department of Technology today announced its Open Source and Code Reuse Policy, requiring that all new code produced by the state has to be consistently available across all departments and creating a repository for this purpose.

The state sees shared code as a way to improve government processes and save on cost. It is also expected to create more vendor options for departments.

CDT "is committed to improving the way agencies/state entities acquire, build, and deliver information technology (IT) solutions, to better support cost efficiency, effectiveness, and the public’s experience with government programs," the letter reads.

This will also reduce doubling up on work and cost of similar code. 

"This collaborative atmosphere can make it easier to conduct software peer review and security testing, to reuse existing solutions, and to share technical knowledge," the letter reads.

Free code and open source software has been used in state organizations since the Office of the Chief Information Officer permitted it in early 2010. The latest announcement, in Technology Letter 18-02, resulted in new State Administrative Manual Sections 4984, 4984.1 and 4984.2 to describe policy details and exceptions. SAM Section 4819.2 was revised to define this information.

Open source or free code is publicly developed and shared code that can be used and adapted for new needs without licensing fees. It is free to reuse. Often, free code is placed in a repository to be shared for general use, as was done with the Linux GNU system

Kayla Nick-Kearney was a staff writer for Techwire from March 2017 through January 2019.