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22 February 2012, 16:10

NASA calls for vendors to "open source"

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NASA has released an RFI (Request For Information) asking for help reimplementing the web site using open source software and open standards. With 600,000 unique visitors and over 1.29 TB of traffic a day, 140 different web sites and applications and over 700,000 web pages, the task is large. As the first stage of an acquisition process, NASA has therefore published the RFI looking for companies that, according to Nick Skytland, Open Government Program Manager at Johnson Space Center, are "visionary, that get open source, cloud computing, and citizen engagement using the latest online technology".

The RFI was actually posted on 6 February into normal government channels and is available online. It asks 19 questions on how a vendor would approach problems such as incremental growth, cloud deployment, service level agreements, backup and restore, compliance and bandwidth. As part of the objectives, the project hopes to "leverage open source to drive down cost of software", but later adds it will "strive for vendor independence through the use of open source software" and implement open standards-based solutions.

The challenge for potential applicants is that they must respond by 15:00 ET on 6 March 2012.

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