Misconceptions and Barriers to Adoption of FOSS in the U.S. Energy Industry

  • Victor Kuechler
  • Carlos Jensen
  • Deborah Bryant
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT, volume 404)


In this exploratory study, we map the use of free and open source software (FOSS) in the United States energy sector, especially as it relates to cyber security. Through two surveys and a set of semi-structured interviews—targeting both developers and policy makers—we identified key stakeholders, organizations, and FOSS projects, be they rooted in industry, academia, or public policy space that influence software and security practices in the energy sector. We explored FOSS tools, common attitudes and concerns, and challenges with regard to FOSS adoption. More than a dozen themes were identified from interviews and surveys. Of these, drivers for adoption and risks associated with FOSS were the most prevalent. More specifically, the misperceptions of FOSS, the new security challenges presented by the smart grid, and the extensive influence of vendors in this space play the largest roles in FOSS adoption in the energy sector.


Adoption barriers energy sector case studies 


  1. 1.
  2. 2.
    Batz, D., Brenton, J., Dunn, D., William, G., Clark, P., Elwart, S., Goff, E., Barrell, B., Hawk, C., Henrie, M., Kenchingon, H., Maughan, D., Kaiser, L., Norton, D.: Roadmap to Achieve Energy Delivery Systems Cyber Security (2011),
  3. 3.
    Berg, B.L.: Qualitative research methods for the social sciences. Allyn and Bacon, Glencoe (1989)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bryant, D., Ramsamy, P.: Public Administrations Code Release Communities: Dossier ONSFA (2011), (accessed March 23)
  5. 5.
  6. 6.
  7. 7.
    Department of Energy Launches Initiative with Industry to Better Pro-tect the Nation’s Electric Grid from Cyber Threats,
  8. 8.
  9. 9.
    GADS Open Source,
  10. 10.
    Ghosh, R.A., Glott, R., Krieger, B., Robles, G.: Free/Libre and Open Source Software: Survey and Study, Part 4: Survey of Developers (June 2002),
  11. 11.
    Grid Protection Alliance “Grid Protection Alliance” (2012),
  12. 12.
    Hahn, A., Govindarasu, M.: Cyber Attack Exposure Evaluation Framework for the Smart Grid. IEEE Transactions of Smart Grid 2(4), 835–843 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Herraiz, I., Robles, G., Amor, J.J., Romera, T., Gonzalez Barahona, J.M.: The Process of Joining in Global Distributed Software Projects. In: Proc. of the Int’l Workshop on Global Software Development for the Practitioner, pp. 27–33 (2006)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Homeland Open Security Technology,
  15. 15.
    Krishnamurthy, S.: Cave or Community? An Empirical Examination of 100 Mature Open Source Projects. First Monday 7(6) (2002)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Lakhani, K.R., Wolf, R.G.: The Boston Consulting Group Hacker Survey (2002),
  17. 17.
    Messmer, E.: Research lab extends host-based cyber sensor project to open source,
  18. 18.
    Open Source Census Tracks Enterprise Use of Open Source Globally (2008),
  19. 19.
    Ransbotham, S.: An Empirical Analysis of Exploitation Attempts based on Vulnerabilities in Open Source Software. Workshop on the Economics of Information Security (2010),
  20. 20.
    Robles, G., Scheider, H., Tretkowski, I., Webers, N.: Who Is Doing It? A research on Libre Software developers (2001),
  21. 21.
  22. 22.
  23. 23.
  24. 24.
  25. 25.
  26. 26.
    Stenbit, J.P.: Open Source Software (OSS) in the Department of Defense (DoD) (2003),
  27. 27.
    Turk, R.J.: Cyber Incidents Involving Control Systems,
  28. 28.
    Utilisec: Electric Utility Cyber Security,
  29. 29.
    Walli, S., Gynn, D., Rotz, V.: The Growth of Open Source Software in Organization (2005),
  30. 30.
    Wennergren, D.M.: Clarifying Guidance Regarding Open Source Software (OSS) (2009),
  31. 31.
    Wheeler, D.: Why Open Source Software/Free Software (OSS/FS, FOSS, or FLOSS)? Look at the Numbers! (2007),
  32. 32.
    Ye, Y., Kishida, K.: Toward an understanding of the motivation of open source software developers. In: Proc. of the 25th International Conf. on Software Engineering, pp. 419–429 (2003)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Victor Kuechler
    • 1
  • Carlos Jensen
    • 1
  • Deborah Bryant
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Electrical Engineering and Computer ScienceOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  2. 2.The Bryant GroupPortlandUSA

Personalised recommendations