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Make source code open and reusable where appropriate
Sharing your source code and solutions and making them reusable encourages other agencies to do the same. Making source code available has other benefits too:
- reduced cost and effort through re-using existing solutions
- reduced risk by accessing established, tried and tested resources
- increased collaboration through sharing resources, skills and knowledge.
Why must I?
There are a number of polices that require Australian Government agencies to consider open source software in the procurement process and to contribute any changes they make back to the community, including the Australian Government Open Source Software Policy. Further explanation will be made available as this guide evolves.
How do I?
Agencies will need to consider cross-agency and whole-of-government re-use, not just intra-agency re-use. They will also need to ensure they have the appropriate governance structures in place for any shared solutions. The ICT Customisation and Bespoke Development Policy (PDF 26 KB) provides governance principles for cross-agency solution sharing.
Agencies have the ability to publish, discover and consume common capabilities though GovShare. GovShare is an online resource that allows government entities to:
- publish, discover and access a range of artefacts, such as policies, frameworks, standards and open source software used by Australian Government and state and territory entities
- explore ICT services used by Australian Government agencies
- contribute to online discussions using the forum.
Sharing source code supports the development of government off the shelf (GOTS) solutions.
GOTS solutions are those developed by a national or international government agency, or a commercial entity at the agency’s direction, with the eventual implementation in more than one agency. The government agency that initiated the development shares the product with other agencies within a defined arrangement. For example, through a memorandum of understanding. GOTS solutions include solution components, interfaces, and modules (for example, hardware, software, technology, or computer products).
Sometimes it’s not possible to share software that was developed for the government by a third party because the third party retains ownership of the ‘intellectual property’ (IP) embodied in that software.
Agencies are encouraged to read the Australian Government intellectual property rules for advice on how best to handle IP to support sharing source code.
Last updated: 30 March 2015