Open Source Summit 3.0- Building and Engaging Open Source Communities For Government


On June 25th and 26th, open source enthusiasts from over 11 federal agencies as well as private industry will convene at NYU in DC for the Open Source Summit 3.0. You can join in on the conversation on Twitter via the hashtag #OSSDC.

As the site explains, “this year's Open Source Summit will explain how to build, engage with, and maintain open source communities -- and when we say open source, we don't just mean software, we also mean hardware and data.”

As we look forward to this year’s summit, we wanted to reflect briefly on how this particular forum and discussion has evolved over the past three years.

Open Source Summit #1

The inaugural OSSummit in 2011, hosted by NASA in Mountain View California, focused on bringing together engineers and policymakers across NASA to tackle the challenges facing the open source community. There was robust discussion around existing open source policies and frameworks, and methods to propose, develop, release, and use open source software. 13 recommendations were derived from this effort.

Open Source Summit #2

In 2012, the summit moved to Maryland with the aim of advancing the use of open source software throughout a wider government audience. While still hosted by NASA, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (Innovations Initiative) and the State Department joined the discussion. A highly interactive summit with a great mix of real-world examples, progress was made towards the goal of helping to improve innovation while driving costs down. The was a strong focus on successful open source foundations at this meeting, and it provided guidance to open source projects and for existing and future initiatives.

Open Source Summit #3

This year’s summit (June 25th & 26th 2013) continues to expand the conversation and will focus on the following 3 themes:

  • Open Source Communities: How they work. How to engage with them. How to manage them.
  • Converting Closed Communities to Open: If you have a pre-existing development community and you are open sourcing the project, how do you manage this complexity?
  • Creating a New Community: So you're releasing a project or data into the wild. How do you find people who care and get them excited about it?

So, it’s all about… ENGAGING... CONVERTING… and CREATING…. Open source communities.

Eleven federal agencies have helped plan this summit to help ensure that the speakers and topics address the real needs of agencies and answer current questions that government agencies are asking.  Tight budgets, a continual need to innovate, and the rise of open source make this a very relevant conference for anyone who is involved with IT in government or community engagement.  Here’s a sampling of questions that you can expect will be addressed:

  • How can open source allow me to reduce IT costs?
  • What’s happening with open source in my mission area (e,g.,health, defense, labor)?
  • I have a project that I want to covert to open source. Now what!?
  • My agency’s contracts teams are confused about the legal and contractual issues involved with procuring and using open source. How can I help educate them?
  • How can I shift from a government-led model to a community-led model?
  • What’s happening at the intersection of open source and open data?
  • What are other agencies doing that I need to be aware of  - or plug into?
  • What’s happening with GitHub in government?
  • What’s happening with Drupal in government?

Juli Klemm, from the National Cancer Institute’s Center for Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology, said this:

“We are looking forward to connecting with other government organizations interested in engaging open source communities and gathering input on how we can effectively advance our program’s open development goals.”

If last year’s event is any indication, you can expect a lot of lively interaction, dialogue, and face-to-face access to open source practitioners who are in the trenches solving real-world problems now.

If you haven’t registered, do so today!

Hope to see you there!

Greg Wilson