25 February 2009

Open Sourcing America's Operating System

Carl Malamud is one of the leaders in the fight for access to public data, specifically that in the US:

For over 20 years, I have been publishing government information on the Internet. In 2008, Public.Resource.Org published over 32.4 million pages of primary legal materials, as well as thousands of hours of video and thousands of photographs. In the 1990s, I fought to place the databases of the United States on the Internet. In the 1980s, I fought to make the standards that govern our global Internet open standards available to all. Should I be honored to be nominated and confirmed, I would continue to work to preserve and extend our public domain, and would place special attention to our relationship with our customers, especially the United States Congress.

Now, in a campaign dubbed "Yes We Scan", he would like to take on the role of "Public Printer of the United States". Here's one of his key goals: making America's operating system open source:

The Federal Register system of publications represents many of the official publications of the executive branch. A large stream of other documents come from the legislative branch and judiciary, forming a collection of primary legal materials that make up “America’s Operating System,” the rules that govern our society. A goal of the new administration should be to make America’s Operating System open source, guaranteeing that a complete and current archive of all primary legal materials in the United States are freely available on the Internet. This goal is partly about democracy, allowing citizens to see the rules that govern our society, but America’s Operating System is also about innovation, guaranteeing that any scholar or entrepreneur can download our legal materials and develop new and more effective ways of presenting, practicing, communicating, and learning about the law.

How can they not give him the job?

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