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Open source government

From Academic Kids

Open source government primarily refers to use of open source software and technologies in traditional government organizations and government operations such as voting.

The benefits outlined for the use of open source software in technology emphasize the large cost savings, standards compliance, and transparency to validation.

Open source governance

Another approach advocates the application of the philosophies of the open source movement to democratic principles, to enable any interested citizen to add to the creation of new policy—rather like a wiki document. Legislation is democratically opened to the general citizenry in this way, allowing policy development to benefit from the collected wisdom of the people as a whole. It is unclear the degree to which such an approach could be instituted on a national level, but on a smaller more localized scale it may be easier to implement. Some envision it as a post-national "virtual state" governing structure, where policy-setting is decoupled from territorial management. In any event, the idea demonstrates the still untapped potential of how open source philosophies can merge with government.

The core principle is the concept of a "central codebase" in the form of a set of policies that are maintained in a public registry and that are infinitely reproducible. "Distributions" of this policy-base are periodically released for use in localities, which can apply "patches" to customize them for their own use. Localities are also able to cease subscribing to the central policy-base and "fork" it or adopt someone else's policy-base.

In effect, the government stems from emergent cooperation and self-correction among members of a community. As the policies are put into practice in a number of localities, problems and issues are identified and solved, and where appropriate communicated back to the core.

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