Monday, April 20, 2009

New Obama CTO, Aneesh Chopra, gets open source

After months of speculation, Obama has finally appointed Aneesh Chopra as Chief Technology Officer for USA. Tim O'Reilly has a ringing endorsement of Chopra. This CNet report indicates that Chopra "gets" what open source is all about.

The commonwealth of Virginia is undertaking a variety of initiatives to improve aspects of governance in areas like health care and education, said Aneesh Chopra, Virginia's secretary of technology.

On February 23, the commonwealth will debut the Virginia physics "flexbook," Chopra said--Web-based instructional materials that cover areas of physics in which Virginia's traditional curriculum is lacking.

The commonwealth partnered with the nonprofit CK-12 Foundation to provide an open-source platform on which new content can be quickly published. Virginia officials solicited contributions to the text from around the country. The contributions were subject to a series of academic reviews.

"Virginia will have its first physics flexbook for teachers to rip, mix, and burn and to incorporate into their educational coursework," Chopra said.

He said the process was faster than the traditional means of changing coursework, and it was one example of how a robust information technology infrastructure was helping the government better serve people.

"You can make information more accessible, collaborate more, and people can do more to hold their elected officials more accountable," Chopra said.