Open-source tool available for unclassified work

The Defense Department’s open-source software development tool Forge.mil may now be used for unclassified work in DOD, the Defense Information Systems Agency announced today.

Forge.mil enables collaborative software development and cross-program sharing of software, system components and services in support of network-centric operations and warfare. It is modeled on concepts proven in open-source software development.

"The initial adoption rate was far greater than our initial predictions,” said Dave Mihelcic, DISA's chief technology officer. “Based on the positive feedback that we've received from our early adopters, we know that it's time to open the site for general availability."

The initial operational capability decision coincides with a new version of SoftwareForge that provides performance improvements over the previous version, according to DISA.

SoftwareForge, the initial Forge.mil capability, enables sharing and collaborative development of open-source and community-source software in DOD's software development community.

Building on the best practices and technologies used in the open-source community, SoftwareForge delivers a secure platform that meets DOD's requirements, according to DISA. The new release comes after three months of limited operational availability, during which SoftwareForge grew to more than 1,300 users and 60 development efforts.

SoftwareForge provides the tools needed for distributed development, including software version control, bug tracking, requirements management and release packaging, along with collaboration tools such as wikis, discussion forums and document repositories.

Following SoftwareForge, Forge.mil will be deploying a software-as-a-service version of the tools that is designed to meet the application development needs of restricted access and classified development efforts. In addition, Forge.mil will be deploying tools and services to enable the rapid testing and certification of the software components being develop in the Forge.mil environment, DISA officials said.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

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