March 30, 2011 – As we write, NASA is hosting its first-ever summit focusing on open source technology. This obvious support of the open source community is being held at Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. The two-day Open Source Summit 2011 will gather engineers, policy makers, and members of the open source community to discuss how the agency can become a larger player in this sector.

InformationWeek brought this news to our attention in their article, “NASA To Host Open Source Summit.” The agency hopes to develop a formal way to support collaboration with the public for its development of open source technology. On the agenda is a discussion of the challenges within the existing open source policy framework, and how to facilitate NASA’s development, release, and use of software. Speakers for the two-day summit include representatives from Mozilla Labs, IBM, and Red Hat.

This isn’t new ground for the federal government. In April 2010, the White House made its first contributions to the community by donating code to the Drupal project, an open source content management system on which is built. NASA has been one of the agencies at the forefront of the government’s open source push.

Melody K. Smith