BRL-CAD: Embracing Open Source for Fun and Profit

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After more than 20 years of development by the U.S. Government and while still under active development, the BRL-CAD solid modeling computer-aided design system was released as Open Source software in 2004.  While garnering immediate notoriety as one of the oldest Open Source projects around, BRL-CAD has become one of the most popular, successful, and active Open Source projects with more than a million downloads and continually increasing year-over-year development activity.  Embracing and growing BRL-CAD's Open Source community has provided exceptional value to the U.S. Government opening up numerous national and international collaboration opportunities but only through constant attention to the specific and unique dynamics of collaborative Open Source software development.  As one of the very first source codes within the DoD to become Open Source, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory has solitarily faced numerous challenges of configuration control, communication, information assurance, legal process, and security.  In this new open development environment, success is derived through collaboration, community awareness, international marketing, agile management, and solidarity.