Wellington, New Zealand, will be on the world stage on the 16th and 17th of April when it plays host to a collaboration between open source developers, democracy activists, government officials and digital tech heavyweights at the Open Source // Open Society (OS//OS) conference.
Building on the success of open source software in powering the growth of the internet 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. The Enspiral based event organisers have been successful in bringing the world’s biggest repository of open source code to Wellington to co-host the event with Wellington based startups Loomio and Chalkle.
Brandon Keepers, head of open source at Github says, “Entire industries become transformed when a critical mass embraces openness. The rules change and each participant, whether they want to are not, are forced to change how they play. The fashion industry saw this happen in the US when courts ruled that apparel is too utilitarian for copyright protection. The software industry is experiencing this as the masses opt-in to open source licensing. Openness drives innovation and those that embrace it survive.”
The world leading line up of speakers, from Brandon Keepers, head of open source at GitHub, Sascha Meinrath Founder at the Open Technology Institute, to Keitha Booth from the NZ Open Government Data Programme will shine new light on 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. 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,” says Gerard Quinn, Grow Wellington’s CEO.
Nicole Williams from Silverstripe New Zealand, based in Wellington and 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 conference will debate and explore how far ‘open data’ and ‘open government’ has come in New Zealand, and where they could take us next.
New Zealand is in the top four OECD countries for open government practices.
The conference runs from the 16th to the 17th April at the Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington.