A recent press release by NASA has us excited; the space exploration agency is dropping a mountain of code to the public. The software that the agency has developed over the years cover things like image processing, robotics, data processing, and design tools amongst other things. The press release state it’s going to be “over 1000 codes,” and we assume that means over a thousand pieces of software. We haven’t got a comprehensive list to look at yet, but we’ll find out on Thursday. We can access the NASA technology transfer portal for things that NASA has already released.
The press release states that the code has been evaluated for access restrictions, and that some code may have some restrictions for use only by federal agencies, or by US citizens. This implies there will be a variety of software licenses at play here, some of them don’t sound truly Open Source as defined by the Open Source Initiative (OSI). A cursory look at NASA’s current open software list sees code licensed under a variety of OSI-approved licenses, so it’ll be interesting how this release will play out with regard to licensing.
Regardless, this is a great move by NASA, and any open government initiatives should be lauded. After all, development of this software was done with taxpayer dollars. We’ll see this Thursday what we fun stuff we get to play with from NASA.
Nur is a tinkerer of programmable things, an apprentice in an ancient order of technomages. He enjoys fantasy, sci-fi, comic books, and Lego in his spare time. His favourite authors are Asimov and Tolkien. He also loves Celtic and American folk music. You can follow him on twitter: @nurhussein