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18F’s Robert Read, Eric Mill Offer Open Source Tips on Fed Acquisition

digital governmentRobert L. Read and Eric Mill of 18F have urged federal program managers, acquisition officers and information technology administrators to examine their systems for open source adoption.

The two wrote in a paper published Wednesday on the General Services Administration digital government program’s blog that an open infrastructure will make it more secure and better supported.

Read and Mill offer a mapping device for evaluating general systems and recommends agencies keep new purchases to products that are as “highly evolved as possible.”

The report also includes a checklist of highly commoditized components — such as the cloud, content management systems and relational databases — that the federal knowledge worker can adopt to build a system, as well as guide questions on when to reuse open source software.

“It’s important that every federal CIO, CTO, architect and program manager seeking to build or procure new IT projects understand that open source exists, that it can be of high quality and highly reusable, and how to use it securely,” Read and Mill write on the blog.

They add that 18F provides consulting services to help procurers with technical brainstorming work.

“The key to reuse is simple but beyond the scope of this article: a modular architecture. In recent years, much of the technical expertise has been outsourced from the Federal government procurement process,” Read and Mill say.

“18F has created 18F Consulting to provide this much needed technical expertise on a consultative basis at cost to guide federal programs toward a modular architecture using agile methodologies.”

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