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NASA Prepares to Open Source Code

CowboyNeal posted more than 10 years ago | from the reaping-the-rewards dept.

Space 330

comforteagle writes "According to this story at O'Reilly, NASA is looking for approval for their own open source license. The NASA submitter (lawyer of course) states that none of the current licenses meet their needs, but more interesting is that NASA needs a license at all. It makes one wonder what we, and other space agencies, might see coming out off NASA. It's also nice to see code that taxpayers paid for anyway being released for their use too. There must be at least one slashdotter who could dream up a use for NASA software. X Prize participants maybe?"

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330 comments

GNAA Leaks Windows 2000 Source code (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8265743)

GNAA Leaks Windows 2000 Source code
by GNAA staff

As previously reported here [slashdot.org] , source code to Microsoft's latest operating system has been stolen.

So far, nobody claimed responsibility for the act, and Microsoft is denying it even happened. But you know better than that! GNAA 0wnz you.


We will be right back after this commercial break!
According to Google Zeitgeist [google.com] , there are about 80% of Internet Explorer 6 [microsoft.com] users. The only platform supporting Internet Explorer 6 is, of course, Microsoft Windows. These statistics are consistent with the earlier presented graphs of the operating systems used to access Google, with the Windows family consistently taking the top 3 ranks. Out of remaining 20%, the split is even between MSIE 5.5, MSIE 5.0, both Windows-only browsers. Netscape 5.x (including Mozilla) counts for only a measly 5% of browsers used to access Google. As you can see from the graph, this sample was calculated starting from March 2001 until September 2003.
According to Google Zeitgeist [google.com] , there are about 80% of Internet Explorer 6 [microsoft.com] users. The only platform supporting Internet Explorer 6 is, of course, Microsoft Windows. These statistics are consistent with the earlier presented graphs of the operating systems used to access Google, with the Windows family consistently taking the top 3 ranks. Out of remaining 20%, the split is even between MSIE 5.5, MSIE 5.0, both Windows-only browsers. Netscape 5.x (including Mozilla) counts for only a measly 5% of browsers used to access Google. As you can see from the graph, this sample was calculated starting from March 2001 until September 2003.
And now we return to our scheduled broadcast...

.________________________________________________. fucking
| ______________________________________._a,____ | CmdrTaco
| _______a_._______a_______aj#0s_____aWY!400.___ | will
| __ad#7!!*P____a.d#0a____#!-_#0i___.#!__W#0#___ | he ever learn that
| _j#'_.00#,___4#dP_"#,__j#,__0#Wi___*00P!_"#L,_ | GNAA is totally
| _"#ga#9!01___"#01__40,_"4Lj#!_4#g_________"01_ | unstoppable? Teamed
| ________"#,___*@`__-N#____`___-!^_____________ | up with the other troll groups,
| _________#1__________?________________________ | GNAA will absolutely own
| _________j1___________________________________ | the shitty place that is slashdot.
| ____a,___jk_GAY_NIGGER_ASSOCIATION_OF_AMERICA_ | Just remember, the longer the lines are,
| ____!4yaa#l___________________________________ | the smaller CmdrTaco's penis.
| ______-"!^____________________________________ | This logo is (C) 2003, 2004 GNAA
` _______________________________________________' [1] [idge.net]

(C) GNAA 2003, 2004


GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8266135)

OH SNAP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8265748)

GNAA Represent!

Government Copyright (3, Insightful)

The Snowman (116231) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265753)

I thought all goverment programs were automatically uncopyrighted, not even public domain? Like they were completely outside of the copyright system.

Re:Government Copyright (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8265789)

That's certainly how it ought to be, considering who paid for it (money collected from the people at gunpoint) in the first place.

Re:Government Copyright (4, Insightful)

hcetSJ (672210) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265831)

But I'm sure there are some private contractors somewhere along the line, and so what about their software?

Re:Government Copyright (4, Insightful)

overshoot (39700) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265835)

The problem is the code written for the Government. Arguably, we should have access to it since we paid for it, but the authors have the copyright. Thus NASA's need for a special written-by-Government-contract-but-licensed-to-the -world license.

Re:Government Copyright (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8265969)

Yeah certainly, lets have the government give us access to codes so we can find the holes and access everyone's tax returns.

Re:Government Copyright (4, Insightful)

UnderScan (470605) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265971)

Not necessarily so, if the coding was done as a "work made for hire". If made, researched, wrote, composed etc. as a work made for hire, you essentially renouce your copyrights to the employer.
From Section 201, Copyright Act of 1976
(a) Copyright in a work protected under this title vests initially in the author or authors of the work. The authors of a joint work are co-owners of copyright in the work.

(b) In the case of a work made for hire, the employer or other person for whom the work was prepared is considered the author for purposes of this title, and, unless the parties have expressly agreed otherwise in a written instrument signed by them, owns all of the rights comprised in the copyright.

Re:Government Copyright (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8265946)

You are basicaly correct.

U.S. Code Title 17 Chapter 1 Section 101:
A "work of the United States Government" is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person's official duties.
and from Section 105:
Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government, but the United States Government is not precluded from receiving and holding copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest, or otherwise.
Although I will say that NASA seems to act like it owns the copyright on the images it produces.

Absolutely (5, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265754)

There must be at least one slashdotter who could dream up a use for NASA software.

Absolutely there is. I can think of a number of potential applications of NASA image processing software to our research in neuroscience. Right now, we are having to either purchase code written for the GIS markets to do what we want, custom write routines in a language such as IDL, or get some computer science graduate students to work for us custom creating code. We are doing the first two and I am going to start recruiting CS grad. students next week, but things might go a lot faster if we already had a source code base to start with.

Re:Absolutely (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8265771)

You could always stitch together panoramic photos from inside GWs head... that would make for an amazing expanse of nothingness...

Re:Absolutely (0, Redundant)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265860)

I picture a big cave with millions of moths flying around and of course lots of cobwebs. Maybe hearing the "addams family" theme song?

Re:Absolutely (4, Funny)

corian (34925) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265876)

It might also be very beneficial to go through the code and clearly label which values are imperial measurements and which are metric.

Re:Absolutely (0, Redundant)

KarmaMB84 (743001) | more than 10 years ago | (#8266064)

Whoever modded this as funny: I don't think that is funny. It really would be a good idea :P

Re:Absolutely (2, Interesting)

Ieshan (409693) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265895)

Just wondering, have you seen Laurent Itti's code? Neat stuff.

(http://ilab.usc.edu)

1001 uses, at least (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8265908)

I suspect that they have some really good modeling of orbital mechanics that could be used in some games.

Re:Absolutely (2, Interesting)

goon america (536413) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265939)

Instead of "dreaming up a use for NASA software," I'd getting a pretty damn big thrill out of fixing bugs in NASA software. Heck, this could overcome Linux in a few years.

Public Doman. (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265761)

It should be public domain so everyone can use it. If they like just restrict it to US companies but their should be no requirement to share the changes that are made because NASA is a taxpayer support org.

Re:Public Doman. (0, Insightful)

rwven (663186) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265845)

I'd have to disagree. Many Linux distributions are paid for by support donations of people and are non-profit orgs, but their changes still have to be made. We all benefit from nasa's research in the long run, just like you benefit from a distro of linux you use and donate to...

Re:Public Doman. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8266012)

Public domain would screw the usability of the software because people would use it for their own gain rather than the betterment of all mankind. I still dont't understand the bizarre notion that we shouldn't do anything unless there is some profit motive behind it. The only reason to do anything is to improve our species chance for survival and evolution into a new being merged with machine. That should be the only goal. I'm being totally serious about this. That is exactly the way I approach everything I do and it's mademe rather successful in life. My machines aren't merged with me, but they are as close to it as possible. When I am not with my machines I feel kind of disoriented and ill. They are an extension of me and every man, woman and child should eventually feel the same way. Again, I'm being completely serious. This is truly what I believe. I'm just amazed at the tendency for stupid apes to want to stay stupid while proclaiming that they aren't.

Sad (4, Interesting)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265765)

It's sad that NASA won't simply release the code into the public domain.

Re:Sad (2, Interesting)

catbutt (469582) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265798)

Why not GPL (or similar) though? By making it GPL, they would force others to keep their modifications open, which is good for all. (at least that is the argument for GPL over BSD, and it seems to apply here just as well as in other places)

Re:Sad (3, Interesting)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265819)

The BSD license keeps the licensed code open. The GPL wrests any code intermingled with the licensed code into the open.

There's no need for that kind of anti-proprietary bullying, is there?

Re:Sad (1)

el-spectre (668104) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265961)

Now now... license trolling is the most anal kind...

My understanding (I respect the GPL... but don't agree with all of it, and am certainly no zealot) is that it cannot "wrest" code away from someone. They need to apply (and have rights to apply) the license themselves. Right GNU fans?

Re:Sad (3, Insightful)

Harry8 (664596) | more than 10 years ago | (#8266018)

Yes, that's exactly right.
And as I was just looking at the Windows 95 source to fix a few of those annoying bugs I was thingking, "Good thing Microsoft used the BSD TCP/IP stack, otherwise they'd have gone broke trying to sell an OS that 'didn't do the internet' and their code wouldn't be open source."

I'm sorry, I'm not trying to be offensive. It's an important point about licensing we should all understand.

Yes, you can check out the BSD TCP/IP stack source.
No you cannot see how Micorsoft ported it to work with Windows 95. So no, the code in Win 95 is not open. Should the problems that piece of code porting presented come up again somewhere else, someone will sweat re-inventing similar solutions. Effort duplication.

So I guess I'm saying that the GPL & LGPL are good enough for me.

Re:Sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8266066)

"anti-proprietary bullying"

Now there's a phrase I never thought I'd hear.

Re:Sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8265916)

I hate to come across as a troll but have you been lvingi ina GPL'ed bubble too long?

I mean really? why would you expect them to just hand it over? I think we should be VERY thankful that they are going thru the trouble of creating a license so that we can even see ANY of the sourcecode. I support the open source movement but I am not so short sided to assume everything should just be dumped to the public...

NASA, eh? (5, Funny)

Faust7 (314817) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265766)

Jeez, who's next, Microsoft?

Re:NASA, eh? (4, Insightful)

cujo_1111 (627504) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265791)

When NASA wants to try and buy out the European Space Agency, then you can start making equivalancies between NASA and MS.

Until that point in time, treat NASA with some respect.

Re:NASA, eh? (1)

DA-MAN (17442) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265828)

Well, if this tidbit [slashdot.org] turns out to be true I'd wager that Microsoft would license their codebase and try to get something for stuff that people can download off the internet. At least it's another source of income. It's hard to continue the flow of income when you hit critical mass with all your major apps (Windows, Office). There really is no where to go but down.

Do it now! (5, Funny)

Rope_a_Dope (522981) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265774)

I am most having got need for rocket open source. Now do open source me want for get. Sincerely, North Korean Military

Old? (1, Insightful)

rwven (663186) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265781)

Given the ancient hardware nasa still seems to be using on their machines (still essentially powered by '91 era powerpc's) i doubt that the source will be THAT impressive. Maybe i'm way off base though. Most of what they use is probably still some of the original stuff used on them. However, i'm not bashing on nasa here, i'm thinking that some people with some top of the line embeddable hardware will come up with some pretty slick ways of doing things now... I think this is the first step in a need that Nasa is finally getting a clue about....that is, getting out of the early 80's in their space program...

Re:Old? (4, Insightful)

KrispyKringle (672903) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265836)

NASA presumably has far more custom software than just what runs on Hubble, etc. What's in use on the Shuttle might be 8086's, but what's in use on the ground for image processing, navigation control, simulation, and so forth is most likely a lot more state-of-the-art.

NASA does a lot of stuff, and much of it is indeed cutting-edge. Don't discount this so quickly.

Re:Old? (4, Informative)

vondo (303621) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265945)

Not to mention that they probably have plenty of stuff completely unrelated to science. Management software, utilities anyone might find useful, etc.

For instance, nedit [nedit.org] , a great editor for people coming from Windows/Mac, was developed by Fermilab, a particle physics laboratory.

Re:Old? (1)

jumpingfred (244629) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265844)

You do understand that only the samll tip that extends into space runs on old equipement don't you?

Re:Old? (-1, Troll)

rwven (663186) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265861)

I'll give ya that. :) I just kinda figured that in general that is the "tip" that most people are going to migrate into looking into. I pray for whoever has to manage all the code submissions on this thought ;-) i bet the burnout rate for that job is really high at first...

Re:Old? (2)

bogasity (517035) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265938)

NASA, like any large organization, uses a variety of hardware new and old for different needs. NASA has some software that I have never seen a hint of in the OSS world, and which could be of major significance to outside users. While there has been talk of open-sourcing various projects, no one knew what the process would be. I'm glad to see that someone at Goddard has taken the lead on this.

Re:Old? (4, Interesting)

BoneFlower (107640) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265964)

Actually, the code on the older hardware may well be the most impressive. IIRC, the software that runs the Space Shuttle is the most bug free non-trivial program ever written. On hardware from the late 70's and early 80's.

I think there might be a few "Holy crap you can do that!?!?!!?" moments reading those sources. Tight optimizations, tricks for doing things that normally require massive support libraries linked together... might be some interesting techniques there.

Re:Old? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8266010)

It may provide ideas on writing less bloated software.

Re:Old? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8266025)

A) Old computers != unimpressive source. They are driving a rover in real time on an old PPC. Its doing machine vision, some sort of AI, etc. Pretty damn impressive on old hardware.
B) Its old hardware for a reason! Its called radiation. On Earth we have this nice atmosphere, ionosphere, and more protecting us from radiation in space. A plain old vanila CPU would just fry up there. Look at the records of the old mars missions... the russians had a few chips die on the way to mars and they lost the whole darn mission. The radiation in space tends to cause surges in circuits when they are hit. The cpus are very specialized pieces of hardware.

RE: NASA Prepares to Open Source Code (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8265782)

Well, Microsoft already did so earlier today, so NASA is a bit behind the times for this one. [wink]

NASA'Sdoom (2, Funny)

i_am_syco (694486) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265786)

John Carmack could do it. A little upgrade to the equipment, and the space shuttles might be powerful enough to play Doom.

Re:NASA'Sdoom (4, Interesting)

DarthWiggle (537589) | more than 10 years ago | (#8266105)

The thing about it is that it seems that any NASA source code would be a monument to overbuilt, overengineered, triply-redundant failsafeness. This isn't entirely on point to your (witty) comment, but, I dunno... it seems like looking at this code might be like looking on some absolute crystal perfection of 1960s-1970s code-writing. No fancy classes or object-orientedness. None of this fun stuff. Just raw, uninteresting, bulletproof code (well, except that one little bit that forgot how much flash memory the rovers have... and the unit conversion problem... ok, anyway).

My question is: how much would we learn from this? When people writing code for business are optimizing for speed and redundancy mainly in the parallel sense (i.e., a failsafe swap to a sister server), how RELEVANT is that to blocks of code written never, ever, ever, ever, ever to fail on tested but "outdated" hardware?

Furthermore, if we ever get around to privately-built spacecraft, how much NASA code will they want to use? I dunno, it's a neat idea in an historical sense, and it's an admirable sign of government openness when the government is more and more closed to us citizens... but is it more?

I'm not saying it's not. I'm just curious how it would be. Is NASA /really/ churning out scientific algorithms that are far superior to those coming out of the private sector or universities? (Note that I'm not trashing NASA software folks... I'm just saying they write code for an almost entirely different set of priorities.)

Or maybe not?

OT: Re:NASA'Sdoom (1)

DarthWiggle (537589) | more than 10 years ago | (#8266124)

Incidentally, my previous comment and its parent may be the two most tenuously-related comments i've ever seen... other than purely random ones. Lordy.

Space Flight Sims.... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8265787)

...to Uranus

no GPL (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8265804)

The best thing if it was public domain, since it was already paid for by the taxpayers. The next best thing is a BSD-style license. The worst thing and something I hope does not happen is GPL-infected code which no one will touch.

Re:no GPL (4, Insightful)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265896)

They won't touch the existing licenses because they are not affected by locality. I'd imagine this will suffer from the usual export restriction bollocks that the US Government likes so much.

Re:no GPL (3, Insightful)

Quill_28 (553921) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265931)

I completely agree.

It would be flat out wrong for tax supported software to be made and then not be able to be used by businesses that helped pay for the software.

Obligatory Simpson's reference (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8265807)

(...Now everyone can sound like a boy band.)

Thank you, NASA!

space agencies in other countries too? (5, Interesting)

xot (663131) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265810)

with me being in another country,would i be able to use the [OPEN] source code for my government space agency? Would the US govt permit that, nasa being a govt agency.
They would probably only release code which would not benefint most people don't you think? ;-)

this FP For GNAA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8265813)

how it wa5 supposed

Text of Article Here: (2, Informative)

wideBlueSkies (618979) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265820)

From http://news.osdir.com/article448.html

Open Source: NASA's Open Source Licensing
Posted Feb 12, 2004 - 11:45 AM

Bryan A. Geurts, Patent Attorney, for NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center has submitted a first draft of their NASA OPEN SOURCE AGREEMENT to the Open Source Initiative for approval. (No link available at publishing time)

More interesting is that fact that they are looking for such approval. The obvious question is what will be released to the community and other space agencies once the license is approved to meet the open source definition.

A copy of the draft submission can be found on the Open Source Initiative mailing list here.

Bryan states in his submission that "None of these agreements suffice on its own or combined together for purposes of NASA for the following reasons:

i. NASA legal counsel requires that all NASA releases of software include indemnification of the U.S. Government from any third party liability arising from use or distribution of the software. See 4.B.

ii. Federal Statute mandates that the U.S. Government can only be held subject to United States federal law. See 5.C.

iii. NASA policy requires an effort to accurately track usage of released software for documentation and benefits realized?purposes. See 3.F.

iv. Federeal Statutes and NASA regulations requires a prohibition in NASA contracts against representations by others that may be deemed to be an endorsement by NASA. See 3.E.

v. Because it is important that each of the aforementioned clauses be a part of each open source agreement relating to NASA released software, the proposed agreement must mandate that distribution and redistribution of the software be done under the aegis of NOSA (mandatory domination similar to GPL). See 3.A."

A copy of the proposed license follows:

NASA OPEN SOURCE AGREEMENT VERSION 1.1

THIS OPEN SOURCE AGREEMENT ("AGREEMENT") DEFINES THE RIGHTS OF USE,
REPRODUCTION, DISTRIBUTION, MODIFICATION AND REDISTRIBUTION OF CERTAIN
COMPUTER SOFTWARE ORIGINALLY RELEASED BY THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT
AS REPRESENTED BY THE NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
("NASA"). ANYONE WHO USES, REPRODUCES, DISTRIBUTES, MODIFIES OR
REDISTRIBUTES THE SUBJECT SOFTWARE, AS DEFINED HEREIN, OR ANY PART
THEREOF, IS, BY THAT ACTION, ACCEPTING IN FULL THE RESPONSIBILITIES
AND OBLIGATIONS CONTAINED IN THIS AGREEMENT.

NASA Original Software Designation:

NASA Original Software Title:

User Registration requested, please visit http://www.

NASA Point of Contact for Original Software:

1. DEFINITIONS

A. "Contributor" means NASA, as the developer of the Original
Software, and any entity that makes a Modification.
B. "Covered Patents" mean patent claims licensable by a Contributor
that are necessarily infringed by the use or sale of its Modification
alone or when combined with the Subject Software.
C. "Display" means the showing of a copy of the Subject Software,
either directly or by means of an image, or any other device.
D. "Distribution" means conveyance or transfer of the Subject
Software, regardless of means, to another.
E. "Larger Work" means computer software that combines Subject
Software, or portions thereof, with software separate from the Subject
Software that is not governed by the terms of this Agreement.
F. "Modification" means any alteration of, including addition to or
deletion from, the substance or structure of either the Original
Software or Subject Software, and includes derivative works, as that
term is defined in the Copyright Statute, 17 USC 101. However, the
act of including Subject Software as part of a Larger Work does not in
and of itself constitute a Modification.
G. "Original Software" means the computer software first released
under this Agreement by NASA with NASA designation and
entitled , including
source code, object code and accompanying documentation, if any.
H. "Recipient" means anyone who acquires the Subject Software under
this Agreement, including all Contributors.
I. "Redistribution" means Distribution of the Subject Software after a
Modification has been made.
J. "Reproduction" means the making of an image or copy of the Subject
Software.
K. "Sale" means the exchange of the Subject Software for money or
equivalent value.
L. "Subject Software" means the Original Software, Modifications, or
any respective parts thereof.
M. "Use" means the application or employment of the Subject Software
for any purpose.

2. GRANT OF RIGHTS

A. Under Non-Patent Rights: Subject to the terms and conditions of
this Agreement, each Contributor, with respect to its own contribution
to the Subject Software, hereby grants to each Recipient a
non-exclusive, world-wide, royalty-free license to engage in the
following activities pertaining to the Subject Software:

1. Use
2. Distribution
3. Reproduction
4. Modification
5. Redistribution
6. Display

B. Under Patent Rights: Subject to the terms and conditions of this
Agreement, each Contributor, with respect to its own contribution to
the Subject Software, hereby grants to each Recipient under Covered
Patents a non-exclusive, world-wide, royalty-free license to engage in
the following activities pertaining to the Subject Software:

1. Use
2. Distribution
3. Reproduction
4. Sale
5. Offer for Sale

C. The rights granted under Paragraph B. also apply to the combination
of a Contributor's Modification and the Subject Software if, at the
time the Modification is added by the Contributor, the addition of
such Modification causes the combination to be covered by the Covered
Patents. It does not apply to any other combinations that include a
Modification.

D. The rights granted in Paragraphs A. and B. allow the Recipient to
sublicense those same rights. Such sublicense must be under the same
terms and conditions of this Agreement.

3. OBLIGATIONS OF RECIPIENT

A. Distribution or Redistribution of the Subject Software must be made
under this Agreement except for additions covered under paragraph 3H.

1. Whenever a Recipient distributes or redistributes the Subject
Software, a copy of this Agreement must be included with each copy
of the Subject Software; and
2. If Recipient distributes or redistributes the Subject Software in
any form other than source code, Recipient must also make the
source code freely available, and must provide with each copy of
the Subject Software information on how to obtain the source code
in a reasonable manner on or through a medium customarily used for
software exchange.

B. Each Recipient must ensure that the following copyright notice
appears prominently in the Subject Software:

[NASA will insert the applicable copyright notice in each agreement
accompanying the initial distribution of original software.]

[If created by a contractor pursuant to NASA contract and rights
obtained from creator by assignment] Copyright a {YEAR} United States
Government as represented by the Administrator of the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration. All Rights Reserved.

[If created by civil servants only] Copyright O {YEAR} United States
Government as represented by the Administrator of the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration. No copyright is claimed in the
United States under Title 17, U.S.Code. All Other Rights Reserved.

C. Each Contributor must characterize its alteration of the Subject
Software as a Modification and must identify itself as the originator
of its Modification in a manner that reasonably allows subsequent
Recipients to identify the originator of the Modification. In
fulfillment of these requirements, Contributor must include a file
(e.g., a change log file) that describes the alterations made and the
date of the alterations, identifies Contributor as originator of the
alterations, and consents to characterization of the alterations as a
Modification, for example, by including a statement that the
Modification is derived, directly or indirectly, from Original
Software provided by NASA. Once consent is granted, it may not
thereafter be revoked.

D. A Contributor may add its own copyright notice to the Subject
Software. Once a copyright notice has been added to the Subject
Software, a Recipient may not remove it without the express permission
of the Contributor who added the notice.

E. A Recipient may not make any representation in the Subject Software
or in any promotional, advertising or other material that may be
construed as an endorsement by NASA or by any prior Recipient of any
product or service provided by Recipient, or that may seek to obtain
commercial advantage by the fact of NASA's or a prior Recipient's
participation in this Agreement.

F. In an effort to track usage and maintain accurate records of the
Subject Software, each Recipient, upon receipt of the Subject
Software, is requested to register with NASA by visiting the following
website: . Recipient's name and
personal information shall be used for statistical purposes only. Once
a Recipient makes a Modification available, it is requested that the
Recipient inform NASA at the web site provided above how to access the
Modification.

[Alternative paragraph for use when a web site for release and
monitoring of subject software will not be supported by releasing
project or Center] In an effort to track usage and maintain accurate
records of the Subject Software, each Recipient, upon receipt of the
Subject Software, is requested to provide NASA, by e-mail to the NASA
Point of Contact listed in clause 5.F., the following information:
. Recipient's name and personal
information shall be used for statistical purposes only. Once a
Recipient makes a Modification available, it is requested that the
Recipient inform NASA, by e-mail to the NASA Point of Contact listed
in clause 5.F., how to access the Modification.

G. Each Contributor represents that that its Modification is believed
to be Contributor's original creation and does not violate any
existing agreements, regulations, statutes or rules, and further that
Contributor has sufficient rights to grant the rights conveyed by this
Agreement.

H. A Recipient may choose to offer, and to charge a fee for, warranty,
support, indemnity and/or liability obligations to one or more other
Recipients of the Subject Software. A Recipient may do so, however,
only on its own behalf and not on behalf of NASA or any other
Recipient. Such a Recipient must make it absolutely clear that any
such warranty, support, indemnity and/or liability obligation is
offered by that Recipient alone. Further, such Recipient agrees to
indemnify NASA and every other Recipient for any liability incurred by
them as a result of warranty, support, indemnity and/or liability
offered by such Recipient.

I. A Recipient may create a Larger Work by combining Subject Software
with separate software not governed by the terms of this agreement and
distribute the Larger Work as a single product. In such case, the
Recipient must make sure Subject Software included in the Larger Work
is subject to this Agreement.

J. Notwithstanding any provisions contained herein, Recipient is
hereby put on notice that export of any goods or technical data from
the United States may require some form of export license from the
U.S. Government. Failure to obtain necessary export licenses may
result in criminal liability under U.S. laws. NASA neither represents
that a license shall not be required nor that, if required, it shall
be issued. Nothing granted herein provides any such export license.

4. DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTIES AND LIABILITIES; WAIVER AND INDEMNIFICATION

A. No Warranty: THE SUBJECT SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS" WITHOUT ANY
WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESSED, IMPLIED, OR STATUTORY,
INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, ANY WARRANTY THAT THE SUBJECT SOFTWARE
WILL CONFORM TO SPECIFICATIONS, ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF
MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, OR FREEDOM FROM
INFRINGEMENT, ANY WARRANTY THAT THE SUBJECT SOFTWARE WILL BE ERROR
FREE, OR ANY WARRANTY THAT DOCUMENTATION, IF PROVIDED, WILL CONFORM TO
THE SUBJECT SOFTWARE. THIS AGREEMENT DOES NOT, IN ANY MANNER,
CONSTITUTE AN ENDORSEMENT BY NASA OR ANY PRIOR RECIPIENT OF ANY
RESULTS, RESULTING DESIGNS, HARDWARE, SOFTWARE PRODUCTS OR ANY OTHER
APPLICATIONS RESULTING FROM USE OF THE SUBJECT SOFTWARE. FURTHER,
NASA DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES AND LIABILITIES REGARDING THIRD-PARTY
SOFTWARE, IF PRESENT IN THE ORIGINAL SOFTWARE, AND DISTRIBUTES IT "AS
IS."

B. Waiver and Indemnity: RECIPIENT AGREES TO WAIVE ANY AND ALL CLAIMS
AGAINST THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT, ITS CONTRACTORS AND
SUBCONTRACTORS, AS WELL AS ANY PRIOR RECIPIENT AND SHALL INDEMNIFY AND
HOLD HARMLESS THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT, ITS CONTRACTORS AND
SUBCONTRACTORS, AS WELL AS ANY PRIOR RECIPIENT FOR ANY LIABILITIES,
DEMANDS, DAMAGES, EXPENSES OR LOSSES THAT MAY ARISE FROM RECIPIENT'S
USE OF THE SUBJECT SOFTWARE, INCLUDING ANY DAMAGES FROM PRODUCTS BASED
ON, OR RESULTING FROM, THE USE THEREOF. RECIPIENT'S SOLE REMEDY FOR
ANY SUCH MATTER SHALL BE THE IMMEDIATE, UNILATERAL TERMINATION OF THIS
AGREEMENT.

5. GENERAL TERMS

A. Termination: This Agreement and the rights granted hereunder will
terminate automatically if a Recipient fails to comply with these
terms and conditions, and fails to cure such noncompliance within
thirty (30) days of becoming aware of such noncompliance. Upon
termination, a Recipient agrees to immediately cease use and
distribution of the Subject Software. All sublicenses to the Subject
Software properly granted by the breaching Recipient shall survive any
such termination of this Agreement.

B. Severability: If any provision of this Agreement is invalid or
unenforceable under applicable law, it shall not affect the validity
or enforceability of the remainder of the terms of this Agreement.

C. Applicable Law: This Agreement shall be subject to United States
federal law only for all purposes, including, but not limited to,
determining the validity of this Agreement, the meaning of its
provisions and the rights, obligations and remedies of the parties.

D. Entire Understanding: This Agreement constitutes the entire
understanding and agreement of the parties relating to release of the
Subject Software and may not be superseded, modified or amended except
by further written agreement duly executed by the parties.

E. Binding Authority: By accepting and using the Subject Software
under this Agreement, a Recipient affirms its authority to bind the
Recipient to all terms and conditions of this Agreement and that that
Recipient hereby agrees to all terms and conditions herein.

F. Point of Contact: Any Recipient contact with NASA is to be directed
to the designated representative as follows: .

(Underscores and dashes removed to get aroundthe lameness filter)

wbs.

Re:Text of Article Here: (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8266068)

Here's my favorite part: (emphasis mine)
B. Each Recipient
must ensure that the following copyright notice
appears prominently in the Subject Software:

[NASA will insert the applicable copyright notice in each agreement
accompanying the initial distribution of original software.]

[If created by a contractor pursuant to NASA contract and rights
obtained from creator by assignment] Copyright a {YEAR} United States
Government as represented by the Administrator of the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration. All Rights Reserved.

[If created by civil servants only] Copyright O {YEAR} United States
Government as represented by the Administrator of the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration. No copyright is claimed in the
United States under Title 17, U.S.Code. All Other Rights Reserved.


If its not copyrighted, how can you require anyone to display the copyright notice?

This post is not copyright(c) 2004 by The Anonymous Coward.

Not limited to space applications, by any means! (5, Insightful)

Robotbeat (461248) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265825)

NASA's first "A" stands for "Aeronatics", and that's only part of their name. Lots of applications can be thought of. For instance, the source for their 3d ranging application would be very beneficial to many people. I mean, the rovers are able to compute their surroundings in 3d using only 2 cameras. The degree of success and repeatability of these 3d measurements far exceeds any other available 3d ranging software. This type of code could be useful for anyone who wants to make a 3d model of something using only a camera and some precise alignment. Indeed, JPL has a lot of experience in robotics and the gain in knowledge when such code is released is sure to be great for anyone in the field of robotics. Even the Darpa robot competition would be different with such technology freely available.

Re:Not limited to space applications, by any means (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8266034)

As someone who's used this code, let me say:

HAHAHAHAHAHA

since (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8265842)

since nasa is gov. funded, this could be great for opensource. May open the eyes of officials that OSS is NOT "un-American" as SCO suggests

Maybe now... (5, Funny)

twoslice (457793) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265848)

We can have more success at landing spacecraft on Mars. At least the metric/imperial error would have been caught before it went to alpha...

I don't care (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8265854)

As long as the Japanese don't work on it. They should stick with what they know, namely molesting schoolgirls and those weird dancing games

ITAR ITAR ITAR (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8265874)

Not likely to be very workable. NASA can't release a lot of stuff because of ITAR restrictions. The US of A treats most space related items as being ITAR Restricted.

For those asleep at the keyboard, ITAR is International Traffic in Arms Regulations.

For example, check out Flight Linux:
http://flightlinux.gsfc.nasa.gov/

You'll note that even though required by the GPL, NASA refuses to release the sources because of ITAR prohibitions.

Move along, there is nothing to see here.

Re:ITAR ITAR ITAR (0, Offtopic)

Harry8 (664596) | more than 10 years ago | (#8266043)

That is well fucked up.

Re:ITAR ITAR ITAR (1)

ender81b (520454) | more than 10 years ago | (#8266097)

That is well fucked up.

Not when you consider that NASA deals with things like, oh I don't know, ROCKETS. Specifically extremely powerful rocket engines and the like as well as advanced aeronautical designs.

If you could copy NASA's designs freely without restrictions then we would be, in effect, giving any 3rd-rate pissant dictator the means to launch Intercontinental Ballistic Missles. Not A Good Idea (tm). Also the fact that some of NASA's research into aueronautical stuff could be used to build advanced fighter aircraft is also Not A Good Idea (tm).

image enhancement (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265875)

It makes one wonder what we, and other space agencies, might see coming out off NASA

Hmm, how about the image enhancement software for CCD's that they've been sitting on for years...

Looking through their list of "problems", seems to be mostly self-imposed or over-exaggerated problems. Like indemnifying the US government- the GPL already -does- that...then there's the bit about not endorsing things(which explains the proliferation of "space" pens and "developed by NASA" foam pillows/mattresses).

Home NASA project? (5, Funny)

micromoog (206608) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265882)

There must be at least one slashdotter who could dream up a use for NASA software. X Prize participants maybe?"

Darwin Award, maybe?

There won't be any good/useful stuff (1)

StoneCrusher (717949) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265915)

sure I'm interested in seeing the code to a space shuttles OS...
but I doubt the code to any really useful stuff like the image stabilization software VISAR [nasa.gov] will be available.

They've released stuff before (3, Informative)

fayd (143105) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265920)

This [ghg.net] was originally developed while he (Gary Riley) worked for NASA at the Johnson Space Cener. It was available in source form since before I started working with it in 1993.

Imagine a Beow... (5, Interesting)

qtp (461286) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265932)

Nasa seemed happy releasing code under the GPL for quite some time, and I find it odd that that is changing now.

Ever use a network card under Linux, much of the networking code came from NASA (mostly from Donald Becker).

Still dreaming about that Beowulf cluster? That also came out of NASA.

Perhaps the lawyers felt left out, so they're trying to do thier part and look useful. Why would NASA find that a license that has served them well for years needs replacing? Any lawyers opine on the new license yet?

One possible thing.... (3, Interesting)

borgheron (172546) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265942)

As an enginneer who once worked for NASA (through a contractor), I can tell you that there are many pieces of software created at NASA which are useful outside of the space program.

This might be one possible use for such a thing.

GJC

Good imaging software (5, Funny)

Kurt Gray (935) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265954)

I get the impression that NASA develops a lot of software for image processing. I'm picturing some really powerful GIMP plug-ins... "Make Mars Red", "Color Galaxy", "Add UFO"....

Liscence??? (2, Insightful)

snyps (656162) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265957)

"but more interesting is that NASA needs a license at all" A political system relies on a set of rules that applies to EVERYONE . If these rules are no obeyed, even if it is the government itself the system falls apart. But even if they did not require one it would still be bad publicity since they would then be thought of as "Big Brother". (-5 flamebait here i come!!!)

About time (5, Interesting)

Adam_Trask (694692) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265975)

I have collaborated with NASA scientists, and you would be surprised how difficult it is for me (not being a NASA employee) to get the code written on NASA machines, even for the same project! They have to go thru a lot of (and i guess, agonizing) paperwork before they release any NASA-grown software. It has been easier for me (and them) to reinvent the wheel more than once at my lab.

For those wondering about the software produced, they employ folks from all branches of knowledge. Except finance, me thinks.

Lots of uses for NASA software (-1, Flamebait)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265977)

I'll use NASA's software the next time I need to:

1. Waste billions.
2. Fake a moon landing.
3. Get lost on the way to Mars.
4. Kill seven people.

I know who has a use.. (2, Funny)

caldroun (52920) | more than 10 years ago | (#8265993)

There is a joke in here somewhere about the esa using the code to actually get a lander on Mars, in one piece. Ok, that was uncalled for.

I have a use for it! (1, Offtopic)

sl0wp0is0n (708422) | more than 10 years ago | (#8266011)

Daddy says that I can't have the new 240GB hard disk till I fill my current 80GB one. Perhaps NASA could help me!

I hope this catches on... (3, Interesting)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 10 years ago | (#8266022)

It would be cool to see other nations being able to make useful progress in non-weapons science, being able to actively thank and give tribute to NASA advancements along the way.

I just hope the sharing might keep going if it starts being seen as a good thing. For some reason, I get the impression we'll get some crazy results too, like French agencies stipulating that no documents may be translated to non-French and still be visible in France. Still, it's definetly problems I'd rather have to deal with then not.

Ryan Fenton

Reverse Thinking... (1)

tau_bada (465512) | more than 10 years ago | (#8266030)

Release skeleton code to the public in an open source license format, allow the public to flesh out, debug, etc. then NASA applies to ongoing program. Public feels a part of the program (greater enthusiasm) and NASA likely gets better code on an extremely reasonable budget. Win/Win for geeks on both sides of the fence.

Can't wait. (2, Funny)

blair1q (305137) | more than 10 years ago | (#8266049)


30 years from now, Man finally lands on Mars, and finds one of the 2010 batch of rovers, and, spelled out in its tire tracks...

"FIRST POST!"

American Taxpayers & Companies Should Only Ben (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8266054)

Sick of the world leeching of the NASA's freeware. There should be fees for any photos and science distributed internationally

No wonder NASA is opening up their code (0)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 10 years ago | (#8266062)

After reading slashdot today [slashdot.org] , it's pretty apparent that the GNU movement will 'free' your source code if you don't beat them to it!

A proposed omnibus space commercialization act (3, Informative)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 10 years ago | (#8266137)

From a proposed omnibus space commercialization act [google.com] :
SEC. 703. DISPOSITION OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS TO INVENTIONS MADE UNDER GOVERNMENT SPONSORSHIP.

(A) GOVERNMENT SUPPORTED INVENTIONS TO BECOME PUBLIC PROPERTY.--Any invention reduced to practice under partial or total government support must immediately be placed in the public domain.
(B) REDUCTION TO PRACTICE TO BE PRIVATELY FINANCED.--Any invention conceptualized under government funding may be patented, and the patent held by the inventor or his assignee, if all work subsequent to the initial realization that a patentable innovation had been made is carried out under private sponsorship.
(C) GOVERNMENT NOT TO HOLD PATENTS.--The United States government shall hold no space related patents under any circumstances.
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