2nd-annual Government Open Source Conference Set for Oct. 12-13 in Portland, Ore.


The second-annual Government Open Source Conference (GOSCON), the premier global gathering on open source technology and solutions for public sector IT professionals, is scheduled for Oct. 12-13 in Portland, Oregon. Designed for information technology executives and managers in national, state and local governments, GOSCON features in-depth sessions on open source implementation and best practices, as well as presentations from industry luminaries such as Brian Behlendorf and Larry Augustin.

“The adoption of open source software for all forms of governmental applications is rapidly expanding,” said Deborah Bryant, conference director. “We’re also seeing other interesting management-related trends in the public sector, such as the addition of open source projects to agency portfolios as a means to recruit and retain staff and increase their skill set. Last year’s conference drew such an enthusiastic and response that we’re looking forward to a very exciting event this fall.”

“GOSCON immediately established itself last year as the pre-eminent event for government IT decision-makers looking to maximize their investments through the adoption of open source technologies” said Tom Rabon, Red Hat executive vice president and GOSCON 2005 keynote speaker. “I’m confident the success of that conference will be repeated at GOSCON 2006.

“Open source” refers to software whose programming code can be viewed, modified and changed by its users. In that way, users have the ability to improve the software, making it better for everyone and speeding the pace of technological improvements. Such software is typically available free of charge, but developers sometimes profit by selling products or services related to the software, such as technical support or “plug ins” that allow the software to perform additional tasks. Some of the more commonly recognized open source software include the Linux operation system and the Firefox web browser.

According to industry analysts:

  • The market for the Linux Operating system alone will approach $38 billion worldwide;
  • Open source software has been named one of the top five industry trends for 2006;
  • Market share for leading open source solutions is growing, with the Linux operating system running on up to one-third of corporate servers, Apache running on two-thirds of all web servers globally and the Firefox browser representing 10 percent of the browser market.

Some 200 participants attended GOSCON 2005 and focused new attention on the Open Source Lab (OSL) at Oregon State University – primary organizer of GOSCON – as one of the country’s emerging forces in the open source movement. Following last fall’s conference, OSU and Portland State University were the recipients of a $350,000 gift from Google in recognition of such efforts. OSL is home to the most widely used open source applications in existence today, including the Firefox web browser, which has been downloaded more than 150 million times from OSL servers in Corvallis.

Speakers confirmed thus far for GOSCON 2006 include:

  • Stuart Cohen, CEO of Open Source Development Lab, a non-profit organization that provides state-of the-art computing and test facilities in the United States and Japan available to developers around the world.
  • Howard G. “Ward” Cunningham, inventor of the “wiki,” specialized web pages that allow
  • multiple users to contribute content with simple, non-HTML commands. Widely used today, it is the basis for the popular Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia created entirely by users and acclaimed for its breadth and accuracy.
  • Larry Augustin, fomer CEO now board member of Medsphere, an open source software company that delivers a sophisticated healthcare information system.
  • Brian Behlendorf, primary developer of the Apache Web server, the most popular web server software on the Internet, and a founding member of the Apache Group, which later became the Apache Software Foundation.

“Open source has turned the software industry upside-down and is having a staggering impact on governments around the globe,” said Cohen of the Open Source Development Lab. “It lets government agencies take advantage of open source software's price/performance benefits to drive efficiency, collaboration and innovative services to their constituents. It also gives them the opportunity to use open source's community development methodology to collaborate with others on projects already planned or in progress. This year, GOSCON returns to the geographic hub of the movement that is changing the way business and government think about technology.” Registration fees for the two day conference are $200. Registration details and additional informationfor GOSCON 06 are available online at www.goscon.org.