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Is Open Source Software The Answer to Oregon's IT Problems?

When Oregon’s new Chief Information Officer, Alex Pettit,was on our show recently, we asked him what stood out from his move from Oklahoma to the northwest. He said there were some expected cultural differences, but that in terms of IT he was caught by surprise:

I was surprised that things like open source wasn’t as big…in government as it is in the East Coast, or in Oklahoma, where I was. I was surprised that transparency wasn’t a bigger issue. It’s certainly a big issue in Oklahoma, and it’s less so here.

This was striking because Oregon is known for its open source community — at Oregon State’s Open Source Lab, at the annual OSCON Conference, and among many programmers. And his comments came right before an Oregonian op-ed argued that open source software could have prevented the Cover Oregon fiasco.

So we’ve decided to follow up on Pettit’s comments. We’ll be joined by an outspoken proponent of public sector open source software.

What’s your experience with the open source world? And what could it do for government?


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