Germany’s Aerospace Centre DLR is steadily increasing its use of free and open source software. The DLR is already using open source tools for many of its software development projects, and also makes several of its solutions available as open source. In addition, the research institute plans in the long-term to use open source for it PC operating systems, office productivity and collaboration tools.
DLR is the national aeronautics and space research centre of the Federal Republic of Germany. The organisation has some 8000 employees, and its annual budget for software development is over EUR 100 million - larger than most German software firms, according to Andreas Schreiber, who is heading a team of nearly 50 researchers working on distributed systems and software.
In the 33 institutes across the country, the DLR is currently using a heterogeneous mix of proprietary and open source software.
Schreiber talked about DLR’s open source plans at a meeting of the Free Software Foundation Europe in Dusseldorf on 28 October.
Prime concern of DLR’s open source strategy is to increase awareness for open source licences among the staff members. According to a blog post by FSFE-member Michael Stehmann, the current mix of proprietary and free software at the institute is raising a lot of questions for developers.
DLR has already published an internal manual to explain open source licences. According to Stehmann’s report on the presentation, the brochure will be made publicly available.
The organisation has already organised trainings and is also providing assistance to staff members who have question on open source.
Next step in DLR’s open source strategy is to decide on the selection criteria for open source. This includes deciding on a public source code repository for DLR’s open source projects, and deciding when to select open source and when to make projects publicly available. By default, it wants its developers to choose either the BSD licence, the Apache licence or the Eclipse licence for their software projects, Schreiber’s presentation shows.
Next step in DLR’s open source strategy is to share best open source practices internally. The fourth and final step is a transition to open source wherever feasible.