Jack Park sent a link to NSA Mimics Google, Pisses Off Senate this morning. If you are unfamiliar with the software, see: Apache Accumulo.
Long story made short:
The bill bars the DoD from using the database unless the department can show that the software is sufficiently different from other databases that mimic BigTable. But at the same time, the bill orders the director of the NSA to work with outside organizations to merge the Accumulo security tools with alternative databases, specifically naming HBase and Cassandra.
At issue is:
The bill indicates that Accumulo may violate OMB Circular A-130, a government policy that bars agencies from building software if it’s less expensive to use commercial software that’s already available. And according to one congressional staffer who worked on the bill, this is indeed the case. He asked that his name not be used in this story, as he’s not authorized to speak with the press.
On its face, OMB Circular A-130 sounds like a good idea. Don’t build your own if it is cheaper to buy commercial.
But here the Senate trying to play favorites.
I have a suggestion: Let’s disappoint them.
Let’s contribute to all three projects:
Would you look at that! All three of these projects are based at Apache!
Let’s push all three projects forward in terms of working on releases, documentation, testing, etc.
But more than that, let’s build applications based on all three projects that analyze political contributions, patterns of voting, land transfers, stock purchases, virtually every fact than can be known about members of the Senate and the Senate Armed Services Committee in particular.
They are accustomed to living in a gold fish bowl.
Let’s move them into a frying pan.
PS: +1 if the NSA is ordered to contribute to open source projects, if the projects are interested. Direction from the U.S. Senate is not part of the Apache governance model.