An open source software is a software whose source code is available for the common public. There are various applications of open source software. Military units of many countries are making major use of the software to make technological advancement in their equipment. The technical units of the military divisions are trying to figure out the feasibility of such software in the military systems.
What is open source software?
A software does not become open source only by making its source code available to the public. In order to pass as open source, a software must inherit few other qualities
- Source Code – The source code of the program of the software must be available in the compiled form. In the products where source code is not available, a separate download link must be available in order to download the source code without any payment required.
- The Integrity of source code – It is essential that the developer of the code does not restrict any modification in the source or binary files. The license of the software must clearly permit the distribution and modification of the source codes.
- Derivative works – The open source software licenses must allow the distribution of software containing modified source code in the same name as of the original software.
- Free Distribution – The distribution of the source code must be completely free and no hidden or extra charges must be applied.
The major benefits of the use of OSS include increased reliability of the systems, more flexible programming of the software, enhanced quality of the system and their working efficiency, and low costs.
Applications in Military
In military, open source software, control a large array of technology. The most common usage of the software in the military includes weapon and unmanned vehicle guidance. Therefore, the software must be of high standard and provide great efficiency. In addition, they must be completely safe and reliable.
- Systems – The software can control several complex systems like pacemakers, missiles or even airplanes. Various programming languages make up the software and they can run on the various operating system like Linux, LynxOS etc. Many companies around the world contribute to make such software for their respective military units. NASA programs, missile systems, air force radar systems all use such software.
- Testing – The use of this software is in various fields including defense, tactical, aerospace, and ground military equipment. Hence, they must not fail at any point. The use of this type of software is seen in radar systems and satellites. Hence, they must go through proper testing to ensure the smooth running of the systems working on them. In order to ensure this, the developers ensure to make software go through various simulations and tests before handing them out to the military units.
- Standards – Depending on the system, requirements and its designation military keep a hold on the software. For example, The Federal Aviation Administration regulates the software used in planes. The standards are set on the software based on their previous efficiency of work and updates based on issues in the software.
The military forces of various countries are investing in OSS for advancing their military systems. US Defence forces have recently planned to incorporate source code repositories of GitHub in order to increase its approach for tackling potential threats in the development communities.
The use of open source software in the military has greatly improved the weapons technology increasing the defenses of the country ensuring the safety of the nation. With advancement in the technology and creation of more advanced reliable systems, nations can prevent their soldiers from injuries in wars.