Vintage NASA software available

From: Eric Chomko <>
Date: Fri Oct 26 19:50:37 2001

Michael Passer wrote:

> I'm a little confused. If this software was developed by NASA to begin with
> and is unclassified, shouldn't it be in the public domain anyway, having
> been developed with taxpayer dollars?

Not necessarily. NASA-developed software does mean it belongs to taxpayers per
se, but that doesn't mean that it necessrily is public domain. Some NASA
software doesn't even belong in the public domain as it wouldn't be applicable
there, due to the prototypical nature of the code. Other code, like utilities
and such, do have application to the public domain but there is no contract or
task associated with turning the code, developed for and on a NASA project,
over to the public. The impetus to make NASA code reusable was so other NASA
projects could use existing code. It is THAT work that has made NASA code more
easily available to the public domain.

Also, NASA satellite data, though much of it is free on web sites and such,
actually costs to order it and have it sent to you, etc. I have always found
that interesting.

> > Open Channel Software is making old NASA applications available for
> > download. There is a fee involved . . .

I'll have to check out the fee. I suspect that that is part of the task to turn
the code over as well as possible distribution cost.

Received on Fri Oct 26 2001 - 19:50:37 BST

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