California Launches Open Source Code Site – GCN


California Launches Open Source Code Site

Drawing inspiration from the and repositories for open source code, California launched Code California, a central platform for finding open source software projects for the California government.

An open collaboration between agencies, industry partners, and civic technologists, Code California aims to leverage open source code developed by agencies that can be reused across state government. Developed by the California Department of Technology, the program plans to increase security and efficiency by reducing duplicate acquisitions and vendor lock-outs. Making open source software publicly available to developers can also contribute to more stable and secure products, the state said in the site’s accompanying manual.

Like many consolidation projects, Code California has created a process to inventory existing software that can be reused. The California Government Software Inventory protocol is a standardized schema available in a Google Docs spreadsheet that agencies can use to document their code so that a statewide inventory can be compiled.

Once an agency has inventoried their software, the information will be posted on a publicly accessible, open source code sharing platform that can then be cataloged at The inventory will help the state assess where statewide software development and procurement can be streamlined.

Currently in alpha version, the site features the state’s open source policy, playbook, a Slack collaborative workspace, training resources, and links to Code California’s GitHub page. The planned features include:

  • The ability to filter projects by technology, agency or license.
  • A project roadmap and dashboard showing the adoption of open source software.
  • A back link for comments and bug findings and information on how developers can get involved.
  • A “help wanted” feature to indicate projects on which the State is looking for collaboration.

The federal government has made efforts to adopt and promote the use of free software. In March 2016, then-federal IOC Tony Scott released the draft federal source code policy for comment. The policy required that custom code developed and paid for by the federal government be made available for reuse in federal agencies. was launched in November and now hosts codes and guidance documents for thousands of federal government projects.

NASA makes its code available to the general public at The growing catalog now contains information on more than 450 open source software projects. The Defense Digital Service’s helps the Department of Defense address licensing challenges that can complicate DOD code development.

“Like the US government, California will serve as an example and a leader in how local, state and national governments adopt open source technologies that deliver the best value and service to the people they serve,” Angelica B. Quirarte Arias, digital engagement at the California Government Operations Agency, wrote on a Medium blog.

“The State of California will reap the benefits of open source through proactive engagement with the tech community and the people it serves,” she said.

About the Author

Susan Miller is Editor-in-Chief at GCN.

During a past career in technology media, Miller worked in publishing, print and online production, starting with the copy office at IDG’s ComputerWorld, moving to print production for the Federal Computer. Week and later helping with website launch and email newsletter delivery for FCW. After a stint at Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology, where she worked to promote technology-based economic development, she joined what would become 1105 Media in 2004, eventually managing content and production for all websites. government-driven business. Miller returned to writing in 2012, when she started working with GCN.

Miller holds a BA and MA from West Chester University and did a doctorate. work in English at the University of Delaware.

Connect with Susan at [email protected] Where @sjaymiller.

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