Subject: Open Source and Gov Funding
From: giles <giles7@qwest.net>
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2001 14:05:53 -0700

First a quick hello.  I've recently joined this list and have found it
very informative.

Now for the rapid fire questions :)

I've been involved in one US government funded tech research
project(NIST ATP program) that had a commericialization requirement. 
I've been recently looking at other government monies to fund
development work.  Specifically to fund open source work.  It seems a
fairly common practice to require the fruits of this labor to be
commercialized.  In the NIST case it was a requirement that the
receiving company must attempt to commercialize the developed products. 
The program managers where very interested in acquiring patents.  When I
mentioned to possibility of releasing the developed work as open source
they where not very receptive.

Another gov program, SBIR(http://www.acq.osd.mil/sadbu/sbir/) Small
Business Innovation Research has a somewhat less strict
commericalization requirement.  But they do grade your company on how
well you commericalized previous projects in future grants.

So a little government language for those interested:

SBIR Commercialization: The process of developing a product or non-R&D
service for sale(whether by the originating party or by others) in
government and/or private sectors.

So I read this as saying that I could open source the fruits of this
research and develop a business around providing services around that
codebase.

And finally my question:

Has anyone successfully open sourced the fruits of government grants(non
academic) and still received recognition/other grants.  

In a typical academic grant the fruits become public property.  Here the
government is handing out money to private companies to foster some
goal(US tech advancement, military prepardness, you name it...)  One
might expect them to require you to release the fruits to all.  Instead
they seem to foster the creation of commerical entities that can support
and develop the concepts further.  In theory it sounds good, but maybe
the current practice is not the best.  The people might be better served
by allowing any company to pickup the work and support/develop it
further.  Then the gov/military/private sector can use the developed
tech further.

Well this turned out to be a long question.  I figure there are a lot of
similar folks on this list who are trying to make a living coding.  The
government money seems at least one source.  Maybe others have tried
this path and have some stories to tell.

--
Alan Hudson	                                       
President: Yumetech, Inc.                      http://www.yumetech.com/
Web3D Open Source Chair        http://www.web3d.org/TaskGroups/source/