GitHub Universe liveblog: Alvind Salehi, Federal Government

By Beyang Liu on September 14, 2016

The federal government has embraced open source software.

Earlier this year, they released the Federal Source Code Policy. When they released it back in March, they received some of the highest number of comments in history, thanks to GitHub. They received around 2,000 public comments.

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The federal government engages in 42,000 software transactions and spends $6 billion. A good amount of these transactions are duplicative (some agencies pay for the same software multiple times). It has to stop and we’re going to make it stop.

Introducing government-wide code reuse. From now on, all software bought by government agencies must be shared across all the different federal agencies.

They also plan to release more government code as open source. At least 20% of all government-developed code will be open source. Why only 20%? It’s just a starting point. We’re going to try to increase this over the years, but getting something started is a great initial victory. Several agencies have open-source-by-default policies, setting a great example for the rest of the federal government.

The White House open-sourced the “We the People” petition website. It’s all on GitHub. Another great project is analytics.usa.gov. Several state and local governments have forked this repository and used the same code to show stats about individual cities.

They’ve put a lot into thinking about this problem and planning for it, and now they’re finally ready to execute.

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Introducing code.gov. It’s the single destination for all government-developed source code. They’re building it in the open. He wants all of us to help build this platform. This is the People’s Code. They’ve put in on GitHub and have a bunch of requests for contributions for open source authors. This should be the “best damn open-source platform the world has ever seen.”

A lot of people question whether the federal government should open-source at all. What’s important to Alvind is that we help them make the doubters understand the rationale to open-source. It’s the People’s Code, so let’s all work together to unlock of our country’s open source software.