Leaning into Public Policy for the Open Source Initiative

OSI reps at White House

I’m pleased to share the news that I’ve accepted a role as US Policy Director for the Open Source Initiative (OSI).

A bit of back story – up to the 2019 Pandemic, the OSI’s board of directors had for many years met twice yearly in person. In 2012 I floated the idea of creating an event of public value as a sidebar to the board meeting – the board’s first such and now a part of the tradition of varying the location of the meetings and engaging with local communities through adjacent events. At the time I was working for Oregon State University’s Open Source Lab and focused chiefly on the successful adoption of open source in the public sector. By then, I’d done my own time in the policy tank… but I’ll save that story for another day.

In Washington DC, we booked and filled a room at the Library of Congress (impressing my book-loving mother no end) and hosted a license clinic with a group of government and industry subject matter experts. The event was a success and included incredibly engaging discussion with participants who appreciated OSI’s direct insight. It was also immediately clear to me that OSI’s public benefit voice was a powerful resource in environments where public policy development is core.

Roll forward a decade and open source is fully in the mainstream of technology in the public sector. It has also been identified as essential to Digital Public Goods. And while there is markedly decreased friction in its adoption and place in the sector’s digital transformation and innovation road maps, the need remains to keep open source open and to keep policy makers accurately informed – and that requires continuous education and clarity for all sectors of society.

You can read more from me about the increased focus on public policy for the organization in my full post on the Open Source Initiative’s site.

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