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Ben Balter: Contractors Should Tap Open Source for IT Maturity

Ben Balter
Ben Balter

GitHub‘s Ben Balter urges government contractors to adopt open source products and software development practices to build on operational and cost efficiencies and ensure that information technology systems use mature code and receive continuous maintenance support.

Balter, who works to drive government awareness for GitHub, writes in a guest post published Thursday on FedScoop that contractors can gain operational benefits as well as attract potential customers by open-sourcing software.

“As young firms begin to bring their open source experience to the marketplace, the only question is whether existing government contracting firms will finally get ahead of, or continue to lag behind the technology adoption curve,” he says.

According to Balter, contractors can leverage the help of the open source community to eliminate redundant code work across government agencies and facilitate an agile workflow.

This shareable code also means that developers are likely to build on modularity rather than custom functionality and create a “field-tested” code that is applicable to many projects, Balter writes.

He adds that open source also enables contractors “to establish long-term maintenance and engagement contracts, and to advise the agency on open source best practices throughout the life cycle of the project,” compared to traditional software development projects.

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