Open Source for America is an organization formed in July 2009 by businesses and organizations to advocate for open source technology use within the federal government.

San Francisco is one of a few major U.S. cities leading the way in the open government, Gov 2.0 movement. SF has opened up data, issued an agency-wide open government directive and continues to pursue innovative opportunities around this effort. (See all SF news at sf.govfresh.com)

Here’s an overview.

San Francisco residents can take full advantage of the city’s open data via Web and mobile applications featured at DataSF App Showcase. Apps offer crime updates, recycling locations, restaurant health inspection scores, BART/MUNI schedules and more. Developers can also submit apps for submission.

According to the site, DataSF App Showcase “celebrates the innovators and innovations who are championing the Mayor’s vision of a more collaborative and open government.”

As the 2010 election cycle heats up, politicians will take to the Web with a fervor to raise money and vie for votes. Here are a few leading the way, creating niche social networks, leveraging platforms like Ning, to help spread their messages.

Open Source for America launched a new video campaign to promote the benefits of government using open source technology. The video includes business leaders from Red Hat, Sun Microsystems and Google.

It seems like today so many agencies are plagued by the expenses of online web development and associated hosting. Manor was no different. Smaller agencies pay thousands of dollars to private companies to developed attractive websites that can be done at a fraction of the cost.

After discussing my frustrations with Luke Fretwell, the founder of GovFresh, he had a solution that would not only work for Manor, but many other cities as well. His idea was to build the entire site on Wordpress, which is an open-source blog publishing application, with full-social media integration. I knew of Wordpress, and had even used it for my personal blog, but have never thought of using it for a government site outside of a traditional blog.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen discuss the impact of social media on democratic freedom and how military can leverage it.

EcoFinder is a free iPhone app that helps San Francisco residents and businesses find recycle locations throughout the city, including electronics, appliance and matresses. Users can filter drop-off/pick-up options by free or pay services.

EcoFinder was created using open data from SF Environment as part of San Francisco’s open data initiative and developed by Haku Wale in partnership with SF Environment, Nextive and AdMob.

InformationWeek features San Francisco’s open data initiative and DataSF.org. Executive editor Fritz Nelson interviews SF mayor Gavin Newsom, SF CTO Blair Adams, SF Director of Innovation Jay Nath and developers building applications from this newly-open data.

GovFreshTV interviewed many of the leading figures in the open government, Gov 2.0 movement in 2009. It’s an incredible list of thinkers shaping the future of government.

I’m honored to have met and talked with each of them about the work they’re doing.

Here’s a review.

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