Tech heavyweights hit Wellington with OS//OS conference

It’s a two-day gathering of minds from the technology, government, and business sectors. The conference in Wellington will see a number of speakers and workshops held to discuss the idea of “open source”, and its application in not only just tech, but also in building social and business possibilities.

UPDATE: With two days to go, innovative new conference Open Source // Open Society (OS//OS) has sold out.

However, the event organisers have secured a larger space to hold the keynote addresses and are excited to be able to release 50 more tickets. Get the last remaining tickets here before they run out again.

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A group of developers, democracy activists, government officials and digital tech heavyweights will land in Wellington on the 16th and 17th of April to host the Open Source // Open Society (OS//OS) conference.

OS//OS is an attempt to explore developments in open government, open education, open data, and open business, building on the concepts of open source software.

The biggest lure to the conference will be the presence of Github, one of the tech world’s leading giants in open source software management, and it will be their first time co-hosting a conference outside of the United States.

As of 2015, GitHub reports having over 9.1 million users and over 21.3 million repositories.

“To have GitHub co-host their first conference outside of the US in Wellington is a strong endorsement of tech capability,” says Gerard Quinn, Grow Wellington’s CEO. “Open source approaches align well with the collaborative nature of the tech community here.”

The other partners include the Wellington City Council, and Grow Wellington, the economic development agency. Event organisers include Enspiral, as well as local startups Loomio and Chalkle.

Open source development is based on the ideas of mass collaboration, transparency, and meaningful participation.

Lillian Grace, the founder of Wiki New Zealand, says: “Wiki New Zealand has benefited greatly from open source tools and so we are keen to be a part of and contribute back to the community that enabled us.”

The open source movement has recently taken giant leaps forward, with Microsoft hinting at the release of its proprietary code in Windows. Microsoft, long the antagonist against the open source community, sees the change in its business model as a necessity.

Other companies such as Tesla Motors, the world’s only pure electric vehicle manufacturer, has made all the technology patents for EVs free. Facebook, the world’s largest social media network with 1.39 billion active users, actively shares the source code for many of its internal projects.

The conference will debate and explore how far ‘open data’ and ‘open government’ has come in New Zealand, where it could be taken next.

Currently, New Zealand is in the top four OECD countries for open government practices, despite the long-running GCSB spying saga.

The conference runs from the 16th to the 17th of April 2015, at the Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington.

For tickets and more information, see OS//OS.