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Obama Investigates Open Source and Open Standards

Twice before, I’ve noted instances where Barack Obama has mentioned the importance of open standards and open source for a transparent and democratic government.

(See Obama on ODF? and for the US Federal Government? — I used question marks in each post title since it was not clear to me how far these exercises might be carried.)

Now CNet reports Obama is asking industry experts for more information on the benefits of open source:

Sun Chairman Scott McNealy… has been asked by President Obama to author a white paper on the benefits the U.S. government can derive from open source.

McNealy is quoted in the BBC’s recent article, Calls for Open Source Government:

The secret to a more secure and cost effective government is through open source technologies and products.

The claim comes from one of Silicon Valley’s most respected business leaders Scott McNealy, a co-founder of Sun Microsystems.

Particularly memorable is the BBC article’s discussion of open source as an improved form of government behavior, pioneered during Obama’s campaign:

Errol Louis of the New York Daily News seemed to agree.

He described Mr Obama as “our first open source President, a leader willing to let anybody and everybody figure out how, when and where they want to get involved.”

He noted that the strategy popularised by computer software companies in giving away software to get others to improve on it has now been applied to politics.

Indeed the new website is said to be a portal for “interactive government” and “open source democracy.”

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