Meetups, if you have been following our blog for some time, serves as a solid platform for Code.gov to reach out to the public and connect. We always look forward to connecting with those passionate about coding. It is a chance for our team to put names and faces with an initiative, and that human aspect that makes Code.gov something unique in Washington initiatives. This Saturday, Code.gov Director Joe Castle alongside Deputy Director Amin Mehr and Open Source Director Ricardo Reyes kicked off the morning in Tysons Corner, Virginia, as guests of the Northern Virginia Linux Users Group. The Northern Virginia Linux Users Group (or “NoVaLUG” as it is known) is the oldest user group in the Northern Virginia area, established in 1993. Over two decades, NoVaLUG continues to remain a “go-to” group for those passionate about Linux or open source.
The Code.gov team kicked off the talk with a new video giving a quick “Code.gov 101” introduction to anyone not familiar with the initiative. Soon after, Joe Castle covered a more in-depth history of open source in the United States government. While what we do is an innovation on many levels, Open source in our federal government is something that has been happening for decades. Joe’s presentation also pointed NoVALUG members to the Code.gov website and its open task section, updated in real time when agencies actively look for assistance with projects. While Joe focused on the history of open source and the Federal Source Code Policy, Amin Mehr introduced the audience to Code.gov’s direction, offering to NoVALUG our general program goals and both short and long term strategy in how we will reach these goals. Code.gov also welcomed one of our success stories — WALKOFF, from the NSA. Developer Andrew Heibel, the lead of the WALKOFF project, came as a special guest to not only showcase the time-saving automation project, but share his own personal journey with open source and Code.gov. Our presentation continued with Ricardo Reyes, turning the attention of the meetup towards community. What kind of developer is drawn to open source? What are its benefits? How does a community, be it online or in the real world, grow? These questions Ricardo provided answers for, reminding NoVALUG that what makes Code.gov and open source a success is the human element.
Code.gov’s morning with NoVALUG included history, practical approaches, and a passion for community, concluding with an open invitation to make a pull request. Of course, that kind of engagement we find always welcome! We hope, if you were in attendance, that you enjoyed the meetup as much as we did. If you were unable to attend, we are always looking for groups and meetups to attend, and welcome opening a dialog with you. Visit us on Twitter or LinkedIn, either to open a dialog or share with us what’s on your mind. We can’t wait to meet you online, or at one of these events, to answer whatever questions you may have for us; and to offer you a chance to make a difference, to innovate, and to create.