Newport News, Virginia, IT Director Andy Stein, one of the state and local government IT directors participating in the conference./Photo by Wayne Hanson

On October 22, government and private industry experts will debate the issues and opportunities presented by collaborative software development models at the Government Open Source Conference (GOSCON) in Portland, Ore. The distinguished panelists have direct experience with successful public/private consortiums based on the open source software model in which developers as well as business and technical users collaborate to create new applications while sharing both the costs and the benefits.

"The advantages to moving to an open source model for government software would not just be lower costs and better knowledge sharing across the public sector; it might also take us closer to the level of access, transparency and flexibility that the public is starting to demand from its governments, said Brian Belhendorf, CollabNet founder and Mozilla board director. "Software development is at its core a collaborative process -- collaborative between developers, even those working on different projects, and collaborative between developers and users. The 'big deal' about the Open Source model is that it recognizes this fact and makes it possible to move away from treating every project as an isolated endeavor. I look forward to being a part of this conversation."

The "Open Government Collaboratives" panel will be led by Oregon Department of Transportation Chief Information Officer Benjamin Berry and Newport News, Virginia IT Director Andy Stein. The duo brings years of experience in early adoption of open source software and models in government environments. Their goal is to draw the audience -- primarily state, local and national government IT management -- into the session and extract a reference model for additional communities on the spot.

The Wednesday October 22 panel discussion is flanked by two notable keynotes: Vivek Kundra, Chief Technology Officer, Washington D.C. who will speak on innovation, and Aneesh Chopra, Virginia's Secretary of Technology, who will speak on collaboration.

Industry sponsorship for GOSCON 2008 includes IBM, Sun Microsystems, Microsoft, OpenSourcery, DLT Solutions and Zenooss, CollabNet, Analyze Soft Inc, and Dataman USA.

Oregon State University's Open Source Lab helps accelerate the adoption of open source software across the globe and aids the community that develops and uses it. Its staff and students provide custom open source software development and host or have hosted some of the world's largest open source projects, including the Debian and Gentoo Linux operating systems, the Mozilla web browser, and the Apache Web server.