What is Open Source? Digital tech heavyweights head to Wellington

“To have GitHub co-host their first conference outside of the US in Wellington is a strong endorsement of our tech capability."

Wellington will host a collaboration this month between open source developers, democracy activists, government officials and digital tech heavyweights at the Open Source // Open Society (OS//OS) conference.

OS//OS will explore developments in open government, open education, open data, and open business.

Alongside key international tech player Github, the Wellington City Council is a major sponsor behind the event while Grow Wellington is another key backer.

Speakers include Brandon Keepers, head of open source at GitHub; Sascha Meinrath, founder at the Open Technology Institute; and Keitha Booth, from the NZ Open Government Data Programme - they will address the question ‘What is Open?'

“To have GitHub co-host their first conference outside of the US in Wellington is a strong endorsement of our tech capability,” says Gerard Quinn, CEO, Grow Wellington.

"Open source approaches align well with the collaborative nature of the tech community here.

"Wellington companies like Catalyst IT, Silverstripe and Loomio have achieved international success using innovative open source models."

Nicole Williams, from Silverstripe, which is a sponsor of the event, says; “I’m keen to know what is possible when public and private sector teams view web development as open by default.”

Open source development is based on the ideas of mass collaboration, transparency and meaningful participation and its principles are becoming increasingly important in all spheres of society.

The founder of Wiki New Zealand, Lillian Grace believes Wiki New Zealand has "benefited greatly" from open source tools.

"We are keen to be a part of and contribute back to the community that enabled us," Grace adds.

"Data is a language that empowers and emboldens, it allows people to participate in conversations and decision-making processes.”

The conference will debate and explore how far “open data” and “open government” has come in New Zealand, and where they might go.

New Zealand is in the top four OECD countries for open government practices - the conference runs from April 16-17 at the Michael Fowler Centre.

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