Back in August, the Obama Administration announced a new policy that requires 20 percent of the federal government's software projects be open source. To make all of that material easily accessible, there's now a place for you to view all of the code. Code.gov is the web-based hub for the initiative and it features around 50 projects from 10 different agencies. Those projects include the White House Facebook chat bot, Data.gov and the "We the People" petitions API.
The recent policy change was aimed at reducing the cost of custom software purchases by allowing government agencies to share resources. Of course, the open-source initiative also gives folks outside of the government access to the code as well. "It's a step we took to enable the brightest minds inside and outside of government to work together to ensure that federal code is reliable and effective," explains US Chief Information Officer Tony Scott in a blog post.
In addition to streamlining software use in the federal government, the White House wants Code.gov and the wider open-source requirement to push state and local government to boost their services. Imagine if you could get an answer about a tax question or vehicle registration via a Facebook bot rather than having wait on hold for several minutes with a phone call or stand in line.