Open Government

  • President Obama Knows Open Source - On January 20 2009, President Obama's first day in office, the Open Government initiative was issued to provide transparency and access to Government data.

  • The memo issued by the president included the following statements:

    " My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government."

    Under the initiative, government agencies are required to provide meaningful data and to make that data available. The data.gov site was developed using open source software and provides access to more than 180,000 data sets.

    While the initiatives of President Obama have continued to progress the utilization of open source in the government this trend was not started by him.

    Below is a short list of events documenting government utilization of open source:

    • 2001: the White House moved to Linux for its web servers and also adopted an open source content management platform.
    • 2003: the U.S. Army commissioned a study on "The Business Case for Open Source". Based on the results of that study the first DOD-wide approval for the acquisition of open source was provided.
    • 2004: the Office of Management and Budget approved the use of open source for the government as a whole
    • 2006: Congress passes a law requiring that all non-classified government contracts are online by 2008. Open source software is used to develop the http://USAspending.gov website;
    • 2006: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) cut its datacenter operating and upgrading costs to the tune of US$15 million by migrating to Red Hat Enterprise Linux
    • 2009: Open Government Initiative is directed by President Obama to create government transparency
    • 2011: U.S. Departments of Education and Defense announce the learning registry, a new open-source community
    • 2012: U.S. Navy utilizes Linux to direct drone fleet.
    • 2012: NASA launched the code.nasa.gov website to share it open source projects and source code.
    • 2012: The White House announces it presence on GitHub to share and improve tools with the taxpayers
    • 2014: NASA publishes its open source portfolio, consisting of over 1,000 projects.
    • 2015: The Zumwalt-class battleship, one of the Navy's most advanced destroyers uses open source and was delivered. The ship is scheduled to be commissioned in 2016.

    The utilization of open source in government has increased steadily over recent years and today open source is a component of some of the most significant government programs.

    The U.S. Army is the single largest install base for Red Hat Linux and Linux distributions are utilized by the Navy, the National Nuclear Security Administration and many other government agencies.See Linux Adopters (Wikipedia)

    See the applications page at the data.gov site to see some of the commercial applications that have been developed using government data. The lists and types of app will amaze you!

    The adoption and use of Linux by governments in not just an America event. The utilization of Linux in governments is occurring globally. China, Russia, France, Germany and Spain are a few among the many countries that have active government programs utilizing Linux. Actives projects include areas such as banking, military and the running of government administration.


  • Open Government - NASA, The White House and the Department of Defense are among government organizations with major open source deployments. Through the data.gov website which is part of the open government initiative, agencies deliver 180,000 data sets with open source access.

  • Open License - On October 29, 2015 the Department of Education announced a proposed regulation to require that all copyrightable intellectual property created with grant funds have an open license. Openly licensed materials can be modified and redistributed without violating copyright laws.

  • ConnectED and edX - President Obama announced on November 2014, that edX and ConnectED will partner to deliver teacher training and AP courses. ConnectED is the President's initiative to enhance K-12 through the delivery of broadband access and digital content.


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