Open Source, Open Data

Kirrily Robert (
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Both open source and open data are based on licensing that supports
user rights, a belief in transparency, and the power of distributed
community. Although open data as a movement is still in its infancy,
the lessons learnt from open source and its increasing acceptance in
the technical community are helping the open data movement gain rapid

The last few years have brought an unprecedented number of new open
data initiatives, ranging from open government in many countries, to
museums and archives opening up their collections, to online services
providing APIs and encouraging data analysis and mashups. At the same
time, open data projects are facing challenges in managing distributed
contributor communities, building tool-chains to work with open data,
and even defining what open data is.

This talk will be an overview of the open data world and the main
issues facing open data projects, and the similiarities between open
data and open source when it comes to ideology, licensing, and
community processes and practices. Open data has learnt a lot, and
still has a lot more to learn from open source, and if you’re an open
source person you’ll find a lot of exciting work to be done in the
open data field.

Photo of Kirrily Robert

Kirrily Robert

Kirrily Robert has been involved in open source software since 1993, as a Linux user, Perl developer, and community leader and advocate. She is best known for her work in the Perl community, where she has been a CPAN contributor, author, speaker, and trainer. She has worked extensively in the Open Source and Internet industries since the mid 90s, as a developer, sysadmin, and community manager. She has presented and given tutorials at many conferences, including OSCON, Yet Another Perl Conference,, the Open Source Developer’s Conference (Australia), and has also spoken to numerous user groups and at BarCamps and unconferences.

Kirrily has recently been working on several projects related to women in Open Source and other geek communities. In 2008 she launched the Geek Feminism Wiki, and more recently she has been contributing to and writing about two large open source projects with majority female developers: the Dreamwidth journalling platform and the Organization for Transformative Works’ “Archive Of Our Own.” Her interests also include free culture, open data, and technology for social justice.

Kirrily currently resides in San Francisco, where she works for Metaweb Technologies as Community Director for, an open, creative-commons-licensed, API-accessible, structured database of the world’s information.

  • Intel
  • Microsoft
  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Rackspace Hosting
  • (mt) Media Temple, Inc.
  • ActiveState
  • CommonPlaces
  • DB Relay
  • FireHost
  • GoDaddy
  • HP
  • HTSQL by Prometheus Research
  • Impetus Technologies Inc.
  • Infobright, Inc
  • JasperSoft
  • Kaltura
  • Marvell
  • Mashery
  • NorthScale, Inc.
  • Open Invention Network
  • OpSource
  • Oracle
  • Parallels
  • PayPal
  • Percona
  • Qualcomm Innovation Center, Inc.
  • Rhomobile
  • Schooner Information Technology
  • Silicon Mechanics
  • SourceGear
  • Symbian
  • VoltDB
  • WSO2
  • Linux Pro Magazine

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