Earlier this year, the U.S. National
Security Agency announced that it was creating a GitHub
profile as part of its Technology Transfer
Program. The intent of the program is to
facilitate the commercial development of open-source software to engage and
benefit the community while producing superior tools that the government could
use, in turn, to benefit the nation further. In theory, it’s a nice way to
incorporate the passion and expertise of citizens in the nuts and bolts of
government operation. But how has the program panned out since its announcement
in the summer?
The NSA’s GitHub Page. Source: https://github.com/nationalsecurityagency.
The NSA currently lists 32
projects, and they cover a wide range of
topics with a wide range of applications. A good example is Windows-Event-Log-Messages (WELM). WELM retrieves Windows event log messages
embedded in binaries and saves them in discoverable formats. The utility of
WELM is obvious: it takes useful, detailed information that may be difficult to
access and places it within reach of users. It’s easy to imagine the many
applications for this, and all of the projects on the profile have similarly
A Sampling of Available Projects.
This NSA initiative is just one of
several open-source projects sponsored by the U.S. government. The Federal
Source Code Policy attempts to
streamline software production across the federal government to benefit
taxpayers. Data.gov provides reams of information to support the
development and distribution of open-source projects that could benefit
Open-source software can be a valuable
asset for the development community. What do you think of open-source
government initiatives? Is there a project you’re working on that would benefit
from these kinds of programs? Let us know in the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter.