The open source ideals espoused on Inauguration Day

January 21, 2009

As were many, I was moved by the passion of Inauguration Day 2009 in Washington. But one phrase, in particular, from President Obama's speech resonated especially strong with me because I feel it captured the principle of which a majority of us believe in as open source developers and supporters (substitute public dollars with community-developed software):

And those of us who manage the public's dollars will ... do our business in the light of day - because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government."

The words that are not said, but somehow implied, is that by being open, you mobilized an enormous workforce to assist, guide, and support your effort, thus making your cause even stronger.

One can't help but to wonder what government would be like if it were run on mailing lists, IRC chats, and web forums instead of behind closed doors. Time will tell whether Obama will steer the US government in that direction, or perhaps a more suitable variant. There's no doubting his intent that he is going to try. In fact, the first post on the new whitehouse.gov blog states this goal quite candidly.

Posted at 03:15 AM in Open Source | Permalink Icon Permalink

3 Comments from the Peanut Gallery

1 | Posted by David Sachdev on January 22, 2009 at 10:53 AM EST

Are you familiar with the Sunlight Foundation and Apps for America? If not...I'll have to fill you in some time. BTW, there is a Happy Hour in Bethesda for Jenny on Friday...before the Irish Lass heads back!

2 | Posted by Dan Allen on January 22, 2009 at 01:34 PM EST

I know that open source technology played a central role in President Obama's campaign. Here is a mention by Linux Magazine of the connection between open source and the goals of Obama's administration (though take the focus on Sun's McNealy with a grain of salt).

3 | Posted by Dan Allen on January 25, 2009 at 09:29 PM EST

For those of you interested in the initiative David mentioned, I've rounded up the link to the Sunlight Foundation and Apps for America. If you are looking for an interesting domain for which to create a playground project, and you have an interest in government, definitely check out those links.

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