OSCON 2009: Opening keynote focuses on open government

Jul 24, 2009

On July 22, O'Reilly founder and CEO Tim O'Reilly launched this year's OSCON conference with a challenge for open source advocates to get involved in the quest for open government.

O'Reilly expressed excitement about recent efforts of the Obama administration to promote open records and open source software as a means for ensuring equal access to information. In his opening keynote address, he briefed the OSCON crowd on the new Open Source for America advocacy group.

O'Reilly highlighted the need to think of government “...as a means for collective action.” He added that the recent push for more openness in government has led to a big demand for experienced open source developers to volunteer their time and expertise. “Collective action means more than collective complaint....If you're interested, don't just lend your voices—lend your hands.”
The open source in government theme continued through the first day, with presentations on election audits, “Hacking the Open Government,” and “Bureaucrats, Technocrats, and Policy Cats: How the Government is Turning to Open Source and Why.”
The open government theme reflects a growing interest throughout the US in finding ways to ensure that information compiled at government expense (and therefore owned by the people) is easily available to everyday citizens without usage fees, vendor lock-in issues, or license constraints.

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