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OpenGovDC, 'open source tools for open government' and Q&A with Phase2 CEO Jeff Walpole

Federal government open source and open government practitioners will convene for a one-day conference, OpenGovDC, June 14 at Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington, DC.

By GovFresh · June 7, 2011

Federal government open source and open government practitioners will convene for a one-day conference, OpenGovDC, June 14 at Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington, DC. Produced by Development Seed and Phase2 Technology, tickets are now on sale for $45.

Federal Communications Commission Managing Director Steven VanRoekel will keynote. Panelists include WordPress/Automattic founder Matt Mullenweg, as well as representatives from the White House, DOE, State, GSA, NASA, FCC and Sunlight Labs. Topics range from open source Web platforms, open data, security and geospatial visualization, among others.

We asked Phase2 CEO Jeff Walpole to share his thoughts on organizing the event, and why he believes open source is important to facilitating open government.

What is OpenGovDC, who should attend and what will be the takeaway?

OpenGovDC is a one day conference to give government technologists an action plan for implementing open source web applications. With the growth in interest and adoption of open source by federal agencies, we wanted to create a forum where the first wave of adopters could share their experience and offer best practices to government technologists exploring the capabilities of open source tools.

OpenGovDC is for:

  • Open Government stakeholders who wants to better understand—or build—technical platforms that support agency-level needs.
  • People curious about open source tools, like Drupal, Node.js, and Wordpress, in the realm of government applications.
  • Developers who want to learn about the unique challenges faced by government web practitioners.

What's your take on the state of open government? What aspects are thriving or need more focus?

I have participated in numerous events this past year that have done an excellent job of setting the stage for the open government movement and open source adoption. In March I was at the NASA Open Source Summit at the Ames Research Center. NASA is releasing recommendations based on input from the Summit this coming week, and we’re excited to have Nick Skytland with the Open Government Initiative at NASA participating in OpenGovDC to discuss these recommendations and how they shape cross agency collaboration for open source technology.

Examples such as this demonstrate that we are leaving the exploration phase and moving very much in the action stage of open government. Many of the obstacles have been identified, so the next year will be about creating solutions to share and leverage resources across agencies. This is a huge opportunity for focus.

What are your long-term goals for OpenGovDC and how will it cultivate a sustainable open government movement?

We’re coordinating OpenGovDC in partnership with Development Seed and right now the priority is to look at how open source tools can be used to advance open government by focusing on how to best share technology across agencies and giving people real life examples of each topic in government.

By combining each session with a technical workshop, participants can walk away with better understanding of how open source has been used successfully so far and develop an action plan for their agency. The more successful implementations there are in the open government movement, the more we can all learn from each other and improve the movement as a whole.

Learn more at or register here.