Open Government Communities Survey; Be Counted

If you’re involved in Open Government, I encourage you to participate in this first informal open government communities survey. The objective of the short survey is to create a view of the broad community of constituents that comprise the open government movement, with a special interest in understanding the interplay and influence of open source software and the open source community in forwarding their objectives.

The first set of responses collected by September 18th will travel to Northern Ireland for my presentation at the OpenGov Conference in Belfast on September 22nd, 2011. Results of the survey will be shared this fall on the Government Open Source Conference web site (goscon.org). Any questions? email me.

Thanks in advance or your participation!

GOSCON 2011 Shakes Up Government IT

This year’s theme for the Innovation Nation Forum, which was co-located with GOSCON, was “Shake It Up,” and things were shaken up indeed. While we were a little sad that this year’s conference wrapped up early due the East Coast earthquake, we’re all pleased that no one was harmed. Plus, we did get to shake up all things government IT and open source before the lunch hour, presenting two panels on “Cost Take Out” and “Building Outside the Box.”

You can read more from the panels in the GOSCON and GOSCON DC Tweet streams. My colleague Gunnar Hellekson from RedHat has penned an excellent post on opensource.com summarizing the Cost Take Out panel. Alex Howard from O’Relly Media moderated that panel plus did a great writeup of the event entitled “Government IT’s Quiet Open Source Evolution”.

The good folks at MeriTalk, producers of Innovation Nation, have shared a video of the luncheon exec panel which was underway when the quake hit.  More materials from the conference are forthcoming; promise they’ll be exciting in less seismic ways.

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.

DoD Releases Open Technology Development: Lessons Learned by the Military

It’s been about five years since the DoD-commissioned Open Technology Development Road Map was published, considered the definitive primer for smart government agencies and their personnel diving in to Open Source development, acquisition and operational policy-making.  The next anxiously-awaited (well, not anxious but very much looked-forward to) installment  – entitled “Open Technology Development: Lessons Learned and Best Practices for Military Software”  is now available in a PDF format.OTD_Lessons

You can down the new publication here: OTD-lessons-learned-military-FinalV1

If you’re interested in the 2006 Open Technology Road Map document, it’s still a great resource.  You can download it here: OTDRoadmap_v3_Final

If you’re interesting in watching the OTD’s author-on-point John Scott present the original OTD Road Map at GOSCON 2006, here’s the link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/user/osuosl#p/u/24/QOEFSygla5s

If you’d like to read Karl Fogel’s gushing review of the doc for Civic Commons, it’s here: http://civiccommons.org/2011/05/dod-open-technology-guide/

Finally, you can visit the Mil-OSS community at http://mil-oss.org/

A document I am very pleased to be associated with; thanks John Scott for the opportunity and congratulations on hitting another one out of the park.

Enjoy! and share with a friend.

US Federal Report Card on Open Source, Technology Released

osfa_logo2

Following the first year of implementation of the Open Government Directive, a number of valuable reports have addressed the openness and transparency progress made by federal agencies. Today’s Open Source for America (OSFA) report card digs a little deeper into its own domain – Open Source, Open Technology in use in their report on Federal Agencies.  Although the US White House Open Government Directive isn’t explicitly about underlying technology to “get to open”, it’s not gone without notice that open source software drives much of the infrastructure that makes the process work.  I like to think of it as a kind of  Swiss Army knife for open data and transparency.

But read the report, it’s all in there. Read the press release.

OSFA has also made the entire table available for download. Download the report.

According to the release…

The Federal Open Technology Report Card evaluated key indicators of open government and open technologies developed through online crowd sourcing and refined metrics outlined by the OSFA leadership committee. These included questions regarding public budgets, use of social media, and open source technology practices. 2010 marked the first year federal government agencies were operating under the Directive and Open Government Plans, and the results are promising. Many of the agencies scored well, while others have room for improvement. The Report Card assigned a percentage grade to the 15 Cabinet-level departments and agencies use of open source technologies, open formats, and technology tools for citizen engagement.

A few of the agencies graded in the report include:

  • Department of Defense (82 percent)
  • Department of Energy (72 percent)
  • Department of Health and Human Services (55 percent)
  • Department of Homeland Security (55 percent)
  • Department of Transportation (53 percent)

Open Source for America is one of the projects I enjoy working with.  It’s an all volunteer organization, so any time we can beg borrow and borrow our community members’ time to produce a report, it’s something to celebrate.


US Gov Memo Spells Out Open Source Inclusion in Federal Acquisition

First the musings: Because I’ve been involved with open source adoption in Government nearly since Al Gore invented the Internet, I get a lot of questions about what the White House is thinking about Open Source.  Joking aside, this has been present on people’s minds since the new administration took office.  For those familiar with some of the appointees’ backgrounds, there was a hope that open source software would play larger role in Federal IT.*  People got very excited when the White House web site moved to Drupal.  I thought it cool too, and accepted that as a sign of more flexible thinking.  At the same time, having run a technology policy office (at the state level) earlier in my career,  I understood that moving a web site to an open source Content Management System did not constitute a major break-through in a complex IT acquisition environment where the greatest savings and efficiencies remain in larger investments in software development for systems unique (if not common within) government.

On to the news: Yesterday’s United States Office of Management and Budget (OMB)  memo entitled “Technology Neutrality” and signed by the US Chief Information Officer Viveck Kundra is a balanced and inclusive expression of options the feds should consider when procuring information technology.

“…agencies should analyze alternatives that include proprietary, open source, and mixed source technologies. This allows the Government to pursue the best strategy to meet its particular needs.”

Even with its quiet Friday release, it has been reasonably well-covered by the press, along with a bit of speculation about “why now”.  You can check out some of the coverage at NextGov TechInsider, GovFresh, and FedRadio. Classically, the new media folks touched on implications for open source while Fed Radio’s take on the memo was “a reminder not to use brand names in their procurements.”

I’ll just take this as a win for a more balanced view, now institutionalized as advice to Federal CIOs.

What’s next?  I want to hear more about how the GSA may use use an open source cloud solution for that new forge.gov project.  We all have our wish lists, that one is high on mine.

* Viveck Kundra and Aneesh Chopra had extensive experience with open source in their respective roles prior to joining the Obama administration.  See Kundra’s GOSCON 2008 Keynote presentation “Open Source as a way of Life”.

GOSCON 2008 Keynote Slides

Click to Download 2008 GOSCON Keynote Presso