U.S. Turning to Open Source? Obama Names Chopra CTO

Apr 20, 2009

Will Aneesh Paul Chopra, newly appointed U.S. Chief Technology Officer, promote open source? Time will tell. At least he has the support of some of his friends in the field.

President Obama has appointed Virginia's Secretary of Technology Aneesh Paul Chopra as national Chief Technology Officer (CTO), according to a White House announcement. Together with Chief Information Officer (CIO) Vivek Kundra, Chopra should leverage technology to reduce health care costs, raise his strategy for technology innovation in Virginia to the national level, and generally promote technology in the U.S. to create jobs and protect the homeland.

It will be interesting to see what plans Chopra has for Open Source. He is first and foremost a politician. While in the Virginia Cabinet, he was a particular advocate for health care reform in which open source played an increasingly important role. In a speech in January, he had advocated for an Open Government concept.

In any case Chopra has received encouragement after his appointment from friends in the open source community. Among them are Mitch Kapor, cofounder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Mozilla Foundation, who supported him on Twitter, and publisher Tim O'Reilly, who called him a "great choice" in his blog. Also testifying on the new man in the White House's behalf is Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Sun's Scott McNealy. But as is often the case, past all the promissory hoopla, we'll see if Obama's choice is ultimately a good one for free and open software.

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