Get on the (Hacker) Bus.

Get on the (Hacker) Bus.

I recently returned from the Thirteenth International Forum for Free Software (FISL) in Porto Alegre Brazil.  With an attendance of about 8,000 this year, it is the largest tech conference in South America and likely the largest free/open source conference in the world.  I was fortunate to have attended representing OSI and presented a keynote on free and open source software and its civic and social impact around the world, and a second session on Economic Development.

The Brazilian government – with great grassroots support – was a pioneer in the use of free software as an economic development strategy, and also to bridge the digital divide by lowering the barrier to access to technology.  Today the government’s involvement has shifted in some respects, and community leaders from a number of Latin American countries are debating in general the pros and cons of government partnership in their FOSS initiatives.

The “Hacker Bus” project – pictured above behind myself and colleague Paulo Mierelles from the University of Sao Paulo FLOSS Competency Center - really impressed.  Getting technology and “Hacktivism” out into undeserved areas makes for a fantastic program.
You can read more about the project on The Next Web  published during last year’s conference.

The Year of Open Government: Who’s Making it So?

goscon_notsite_300I’m going to GOSCON 2010 – the Government Open Source Conference – of course, and as conference chair I hope I’ll see you there too.

We’re back in Portland Oregon this fall.  Visit the web site for news, conference program, speaker line up, and registration.

So you ask me, what’s hot this year?  One thing for certain; following the Obama Administration’s Open Government Directive, state and local governments have turned to the Swiss Army knife of open technology tools to crack open up government data for the sake of transparency and to unleash innovation in some of the most unexpected ways.

We’re gathering an amazing group of city, state, county and federal leadership to sharing their stories and successes, expose and debate the challenges. Great break-out sessions on what government is doing, and most exciting, the growing civic engagement movements in government IT like Civic Commons and others.  Deep discussions in the hallways.  Interactive panels. Lively debates in the after hours of Portland’s great pubs and eateries.

We’re partnering with the Seattle non-profit  Knowledge As Power  and the OpenGovWest folks this year and hosting an Open Data Summit.

We’re launching a first ever IgniteGov event smack in the middle of GOSCON, to gather the public service/civic advocacy/transparency/community crowd for a fast-paced and fun exchange of ideas.

And much more.  Check out the web site, and help us spread the word.  Here’s the Digest version:

Event: The Government Open Source Conference (GOSCON 2010)
Web Site: http://goscon.org
Dates: October 26, Open Data Summit, October 27-28, GOSCON
Topics: Role of open source software and collaboration enabling leading Open Government and Transparency initiatives throughout the US. Open technology strategy, policy, acquisitions, operations, organizational readiness, exemplary projects and use case are covered in breakout sessions.  Executive Open Data Round table includes state, city and federal leadership. Open Data Summit on gathers government, civic, and technology interests to collaborate on standards issue.
Intended Audience: Pubic Sector CIOs, IT Directors, Infrastructure and Development Mangers, Contract Managers, Data Managers, Enterprise Architects, IT Policy Advisers, Public Information Officers, Public Administrators with responsibility for information technology strategy.  Internal gov2.0 evangelists will also benefit from the program.

Location: The Nines Hotel, 525 SW Morrison, Portland, Oregon 97204

Registration:    Government and non-profits, $195 until October 18, $250 thereafter, Corporate $295 until October 18, $375 thereafter (includes all sessions, exhibits, conference meals, and materials.

Conference Organizers: Oregon State University Open Source Lab osuosl.org