NASA Open Source Summit

Solutions to Issue #6: Limitations on Contributing to External Open Source Projects


  • This is the place for all summit participants to propose and discuss solutions to the one issue listed above.
  • Feel free to build on rather than delete what others are saying.
  • Format for Breakout Sessions:
  • Introduce each other with quick, 1-sentence bios
  • Describe the issue to get everyone on the same page
  • Brainstorm solutions
  • Go in-depth with one solution at a time
  • Record notes or your discussions will not impact policy


  • The full list of issues is here.
  • If you opened this in Edit mode and it’s now Read Only, there are probably too many editors right now (max is 50). In that case, use this supplemental page to capture your solutions to this issue. Notes from all supplemental pages will be moved to the main page for that issue after the summit.

Description of the issue

"Open Source is a tool by which to accomplish NASA's mission"

Proposed Solution #1: Clarify existing policy and/or restrictions on contributing to open source projects

Given the issues stated in the description and a general sense of confusion, and a prevailing attitude of “asking forgiveness is easier than asking permission”, NASA needs to clarify what the existing policy means for software developers who are--or wish to be--contributing to open source software currently. Publish this information prominently online and make it widely available. Simple, unambiguous language without a lot of caveats is critical.

Proposed Solution #2: Agency-wide blanket authorization covering contributions to external Open Source Software

Moving forward from solution #1, the Agency could create a blanket agreement permitting contributions to open source projects. This would be greatly preferable to having one-off contributor agreements for individual projects/contributions.