Happy Tenth Anniversary OSL

OSUOSL logo

Oregon State University Open Source Lab unofficial commemorative logo, celebrating ten years of operation.

This evening Oregon State University Open Source Lab gathered staff, students and friends to celebrate their tenth anniversary.  Was great to see the crew, and exciting to hear about their direction for the next decade.  Their quiet and critical support of community open source projects continues.  Drop in on their web site, and if you’re in the Corvallis, Oregon area, ask for a tour of the OSL; they love to share.

If you’re interested in a light technical overview of OSL’s hosting and network capacity, hosted projects, and growth over the last ten years you can check out OSL director Lance Albertson’s presentation at the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) earlier this year.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Source Code Policy: Open and Shared

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Source Code Policy: Open and Shared

On April 6th, 2012 the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFBP) rolled out their brand new Source Code Policy, setting the direction for their agency to consume and contribute to open source software.

As a brand new agency, CFBP is in the enviable position of creating their technology road map on a while sheet of paper.  No legacy systems, no legacy contracts, no legacy skill sets; not your frequent scenario in the federal government.  Unburdened by existing IT operations and entrenched processes based on outdated policies they were free to envision a fresh approach that reflects and supports their public trust mission.

We use open-source software, and we do so because it helps us fulfill our mission.

When we build our own software or contract with a third party to build it for us, we will share the code with the public at no charge.

They may have had the new guy advantage, but they’ve done some great work that makes it easier for other agencies to model.  CFPB has crafted a clear, concise policy for its use and then shared it broadly.  They follow in the footsteps of the Department of Defense, which began producing and refining policy for their agency personnel in this area a number of years ago.  CFPB hopes other agencies will find the policy useful as a reference model and to that end have also shared it on GitHub Gist.

I’ve been privileged to have collaborated with the agency’s chief architect of the policy Matthew Burton over the past five years or so.  I met Matthew about the time he authored a great essay entitled Why I Help the Man (and why you should too) and worked on a project (“Open Intel”) for the U.S. Department of Energy.  Congratulations to Matthew and the team at CFPB for their thoughtful work and leadership in this policy area, and for their creativity in making it a public asset.  And I have to add….thanks for making it one of the easiest reads ever for a federal IT policy.

You can read Matthew’s full official post on the publication of the policy on the agency web site.

Government Open Source Conference D.C. Program set for August 23

GOSCON_DC2 SqPlease join me on August 23 at the Washington Convention Center for our Seventh Annual GOSCON, this year collocated with Innovation Nation Forum.  I’m very excited we’re partnering with MeriTalk for the event which takes this year’s burning government IT issues head-on.

Our program this month includes a great lineup of all agency leadership – from the FCC to the White House, the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, NASA, DHS and more.  A full program schedule, registration  and other details can be found at Innovation Nation, or you can check out the GOSCON site for speaker details.  Registration is complementary to government, one registration provides access to all Innovation Nation keynotes and sessions.

GOSCON Track details:
Cost Take Out: Where are the Savings in Open Source?

  • Greg Elin, Chief Data Officer, Federal Communications Commission
  • Tiffany Smith Licciardi, eDiplomacy, U.S. Department of State
  • Dr. David A. Wheeler, Research Staff Member, Institute for Defense Analyses
  • Alexander B. Howard, Gov 2.0 Correspondent, O’Reilly Media [Moderator]

Building Outside the Box: Leading Federal Agency Innovators

  • Matthew Burton, Office of the CIO, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • Scott Goodwin, Chief Information Officer for Space Operations, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • Dr. Douglas Maughan, Director, Cyber Security Division, Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate
  • Wayne Moses Burke, Executive Director, Open Forum Foundation [Moderator]

Open Source Lessons Learned: What the Feds can Learn from State and Local Gov

  • Carolyn Lawson, Chief Information Officer, Oregon Health Authority
  • Bryan Sivak, Chief Innovation Office, State of Maryland
  • Chris Vein, Executive Officer of the President
  • Deborah Bryant, Public Sector Communities Manager, Oregon State University Open Source Lab [moderator]

About GOSCON: The Government Open Source Conference (GOSCON) program is produced by Oregon State University Open Source Lab as part of its mission to educate and build community. Since 2005, GOSCON has helped fuel the adoption of open source technology in the public sector by attracting information technology leaders worldwide to its annual event. Ongoing conference content includes lessons learned in the development and integration of open source solutions into agency environments, exposure to projects and existing software applications and services, and opportunities to establish and foster relationships for collaboration around shared interests.

Whitehouse.gov Migrates to Open Source Drupal

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Yesterday the White House Office of New Media announced it had migrated its legacy system for whitehouse.gov to Drupal.  Let’s be clear that this constitutes a change in plumbing – important plumbing – and not policy – but is a significant and of course highly visible sign that open source software has gone main stream.

Perhaps we can look forward to that day in the future when someone quips “No one ever got fired for implementing Drupal”.

This made yesterday a double red letter day for me and my colleagues in Oregon; an open source application was rolled out in mission-critical environment in government AND it was one the projects supported by Oregon State University’s Open Source Lab (OSL) where I work.  Double the satisfaction.  Although I don’t talk about it much here – where I focus on government adoption of open source – our core activity at the OSL is supporting many significant open source projects through hosting, administration and development as part of our charter to build community.  We’ve been quietly at work since 2003 at this important endeavor.

There is no shortage of news coverage on this event so I won’t rehash here.  I’m focused on the upcoming Government Open Source Conference – GOSCON DC, but wanted to share with you that Drupal Association will be present at the event next week – November 5 at the Ronald Regan Building & International Trade Center.  On-line registration is still open, hope you will plan to join us if you’re in the area (or make the trip, we have colleagues as far away as Japan joining us for the day!)

At OSCON: Why the Government is Turning to Open Source

OSCON 2009I ‘m excited about speaking at O’Reilly’s OSCON next week, and I’ll be joined by fantastic panelists. My session is 4:30pm Wednesday, July 22.

Deborah Bryant (OSU Open Source Lab), Bjorn Freeman-Benson (DemocracyLab), Greg Lund-Chaix (Oregon State University Open Source Lab), Clay Johnson (Sunlight Labs), Aleksandar Totic (Open Source Digital Voting Foundation)
Open source shares critical values with government and public education that make them function in the ideal; meritocracy of ideas, transparency, collaboration. But where is the sweet spot in the confluence of these social, technical, and public policy ideals? And where is the opportunity for the citizen developer to get involved? Read more.