This is a great way to put the community benefits of open source into practice. Several local Colorado governments are creating an open source e-government system that will allow people to perform a number of services online (animal registration, parking ticket payment, etc.) The reason for doing this as an open source project is particularly interesting:
“We would love to have other organisations using the product. For example, if a small rural community in Australia implemented the system and added an animal registration module, they could contribute that module back to the project and everyone else could use it” (ZDNet UK).
This collaboration and spirit of sharing in order to have the best possible end product is one of the reasons that open source culture so compelling. I will be curious to see how the project progresses and to see how other governments decide to participate.