About this time last week, FedScoop and Red Hat were wrapping up the 2011 Red Hat Government Symposium at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Red Hat provided continual updates during the event on its Twitter account, RedHatGov, highlighting key speakers and remarks.
FedScoop, the event sponsor, reported some 300 government and industry leaders to be in attendance. The focus was on how federal agencies can best utilize and implement the 25-Point Plan to Reform Federal IT, specifically open source.
The event featured multiple government officials and Red Hat’s own public sector executives including Paul Smith, vice president and general manager, who was the event moderator. Smith described open source in government as “pervasive,” according to RedHatGov’s Twitter feed.
Peter Levin, chief technology officer at the Department of Veterans Affairs, furthered Smith’s open source description by saying it is “about transparency, about a vivid roadmap and getting better value for your money,” according to RedHatGov.
Levin went on to say that the administration is attempting to get out of the vendor lock-in and challenged those in the room asking, “what if your next product wasn’t a tool?”
One highlight from the event reported by FedScoop was Gunnar Hellekson‘s, Red Hat chief technology strategist, and Federal Deputy CTO Chris Vein‘s discussion of the important role open source can play for the government.
According to the company tweets, Vein indicated that the federal government is not only trying to build “grassroots support” for open source, but also create guidelines for it. Open source is a way in which government can be smarter, “save costs and improve value,” said Vein according to RedHatGov.
According to Wolf Tombe, chief technology officer of Customs and Border Protection, the common “infrastructure is based on open standards. Everything moving forward will be based on that infrastructure,” reported RedHatGov.
U.S. Army Major Gen. Nick Justice added to Tombe’s claim that an infrastructure that allows innovation with minimal cost to update is ideal, according to RedHatGov. The Army is Red Hat’s biggest customer, according to Tombe, who indicated he didn’t want to be tied to a system.
“I want my soldiers to build a solution and own it,” he said as reported in a tweet. Justice said that it’s important to learn all sides of the business.
The single day symposium devoted to open source exploration included breakout sessions atop the already full keynote discussion lineup. Cloud best practices and the how-to to implement open source solutions in federal agencies were the top topics.
Tombe, who wrapped up the event with his discussion of lowering the cost of government, may have summed up the event best a tweet where he reportedly said, “the move to open source and open standards are absolutely critical for us.”