NASA announces Open Government Plan 2.0

Wide-ranging initiative designed to speed uptake of open-source principles

The use of open-source ideals -- both inside and outside of the software realm -- is at the heart of the latest version of NASA's Open Government Plan, which was announced Tuesday in an official blog post.

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"We used this milestone to sharpen our focus and commitment to Open Government. We see Open Government as the responsibility of every person who works at NASA and we take seriously the principles of participation, collaboration and transparency in all that we do," Open Government program manager Nick Skytland wrote.

One new feature of the plan is the inclusion of a citizen engagement directory, meant to provide members of the public with ways to contribute to NASA's goals and encourage the development of broader interest in science, technology, engineering and math education.

Skytland stressed that Version 2.0 of the document is not meant to be a directive from on high. Rather, according to the program manager, it's designed as a model to encourage innovation and openness throughout the federal government.

As part of the initiative, NASA is set to revamp its Web infrastructure, making it more accessible and transparent -- and ensuring that it uses open standards. The agency also maintains its own open-source code repository, accessible at

NASA has also said that it hopes to hold a second Open Source Summit this summer. The first event, in March 2011, drew 700 participants and featured speakers from Mozilla, GitHub, Google, Red Hat and IBM.

The agency has been at the heart of several important open-source initiatives, and was one of the principal entities behind the creation of the OpenStack cloud infrastructure platform. That technology was credited by HP as the basis for its new public cloud service, which launched today.

Email Jon Gold at and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

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Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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