Code.gov is a website launched by The White House that shares open-source projects being used and developed by the U.S. Government. The White House is hoping to improve access to government software and is promoting the sharing and use of its open source software across various government agencies.
The launch comes several months after The White House’s new Federal Source Code policy. This policy states that the government agencies must “make custom-developed code available for Government-wide reuse and make their code inventories discoverable,” with certain exceptions. The website already has code from more than ten departments such as agriculture, energy, labor, NASA, and so on.
The Code.gov website has a simple streamlined look and all of the code is searchable by department. You are able to navigate the site without difficulty and the code is easily accessible. The website is user friendly and easy to use.
The purpose of this is to aid in the U.S. Government’s efficiency and help identify if any duplicated effort is taking place. The departmental cooperation will also lower the government’s spending on specialized code which the government currently spends over $6 billion a year on.
Since the source code is available, regular developers can also look at the code and make changes or use it however they see fit. In this scenario, you are essentially getting collaboration between the U.S. Government and the public in an effort to make the code as proficient as possible. There are also opportunities for major breakthroughs to take place given the combined contribution from the people.
This is unquestionably a more modern move for The White House and a decision that will most definitely affect our futures, whether people recognize it or not. With the advancement in technology and speed in which it develops, the use of code is becoming more prevalent in every aspect of our lives. From the cars we drive, to the phones we use, to the homes we live in. As more code becomes open source we are creating greater opportunity for our society to flourish in the 21st century.
The U.S. Government is obviously trying to set an example with the implementation of this policy. Freedom of Speech is the first amendment the government was built upon and now that mindset is being applied to code. The outcome from this can be speculated in a number of ways; however the potential positives could be huge. As long as the government is mindful about the types of codes they chose to release and make open-source, there should be no harm in the sharing of this information. It will only aid to the development and progression of the U.S. Government.
More projects like code.gov need to continue to take place in order for the United States to continue thriving. Technology is in the driver’s seat right now and the government needs to show that it’s embracing that progression and adapting to it. Hopefully this policy will spark similar policies and projects, putting the United States at the forefront of modern day government and culture.