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Open Your World Explores Open Source Principles in Government and Law

This is the second blog in a three-part series highlighting presentations from Open Your World, an online forum presented by opensource.com. The open source ideals of participation, collaboration, community, transparency and meritocracy are increasingly being applied to the areas of government and law across the globe. The three Open Your World sessions outlined below further explore open source in government and law.

Graham Taylor of OpenForum Europe (OFE) and Karsten Gerloff of Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) cited standardization policy as the principal battleground for free software and open source communities in Europe. Debate over the definition of an “open standard” has become a contentious one. In their Open Your World session, Taylor and Gerloff outlined European member state achievements and strategies moving forward, particularly in an atmosphere of economic difficulty. Read more here and to hear their full discussion, access the archived talk here.

In the United States, President Obama has pledged a more open and transparent government since his early days in office. Open Source for America (OSFA), an organization with more than a thousand members across tech industry leaders, non-governmental organizations and academic research institutions, advocates for the use of open source technology in the US Federal government. Jeremy Allison of Google and Terri Molini of Initmarketing, presented at Open Your World on behalf of OSFA. They discussed how OSFA is working to centralize the advocacy and messaging around open technologies and helping the US government and agencies understand the benefits they can achieve with open source technologies. To hear the full discussion, access the archived talk.

Richard Fontana, open source licensing and patent counsel at Red Hat, led a discussion on some of the legal aspects of open source including license compliance and how core open source principles apply as legal rules and customs to software. Over several decades, concepts of exclusive property rights, such as copyright, have been imposed on software. Free software licensing models emerged in reaction, and were an attempt to restore the original code-sharing commons. Fontana discussed the problem of defining free software/open source and also distinguished the major categories of open source licenses. He also focused on the details of open source license enforcement and compliance and noted that the real key to compliance is to make an effort to understand and satisfy the reasonable customary expectations of upstream open source developers. To hear the full discussion, access the archived talk.

Opensource.com also hosted a session at the Red Hat Summit and JBoss World in Boston on June 25th where some of the opensource.com moderators and contributors, including Richard Fontana, discussed the community and how to get involved with opensource.com. Panelists and audience members shared many great stories on how they are applying open source principles beyond technology. Check out some of the conversations started during and after Red Hat Summit and JBoss World including the opensource.com tweet-up held during the event.

Want to contribute to opensource.com? Read more about how to participate here.