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What? DARPA Does Open-Source?

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junko.yoshida
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Re: Open source is not new to the DoD!
junko.yoshida   9/25/2013 1:05:31 PM
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Right on, Terry.Bollinger. It makes a lot of sense, and thank you for sharing the link!

Caleb Kraft
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Re: Open source is not new to the DoD!
Caleb Kraft   9/25/2013 2:06:26 PM
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Great insight Terry. Also, hello from a fellow Missourian!

Terry.Bollinger
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Re: Open source is not new to the DoD!
Terry.Bollinger   9/25/2013 4:53:22 PM
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Junko, Caleb, thanks for your kind words. Kaleb: Missouri rocks!

Junko: Thanks for a very interesting article. The back-and-forth to determine where the boundaries between proprietary and open software is a complex dance that has been underway for decades now. I applaud that complexity! It is the rigid philosophies that "all software must be free and open" or "all software must proprietary" that end up holding innovation back. It's not that different from insisting that a house must be all metal or all wood, but never both. It's not that you can't do it, but that you lose key benefits that only a carefully constructed hybrid of the two can provide.

For most of those past decades, the dial has been pushed way too far in the direction of all-proprietary. The trouble with that is it leaves you with an unstable inverted pyramid that can tip over and crush a company as the maintenance and global diversification costs begin to go exponential over time. For research, the impact of overreliance on proprietary-only models is even more immeidate, since grad students usually don't have much money and need maximum accessibility, flexibility, and adaptability in their code.

Computer vision is one of those areas where a more open model has excellent potential benefits. The unknowns are still very broad in this domain, so encouraging rapid and synergistic interplay between researchers is vital. I'm delighted to hear that PM Mike Geertsen and Jeff Bier of the Embedded Vision Alliance see the potential of an open base and are pursuing it. This bodes well for much-needed faster advances in computer vision.

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