I’m going to TransparencyCamp!

I’m lucky! and get to attend TransparancyCamp in Washington D.C. this weekend, February 28 – March 1.  Styled after BarCamp, this event filled up in no time.  Take a look at who will be there (independant developers, NGOs and government folks too) and you’ll quickly see why I’m excited about participating.

transparancycampThis un-conference is about convening a trans-partisan tribe of open government advocates from all walks — government representatives, technologists, developers, NGOs, wonks & activists — to share knowledge on how to use new technologies to make our government transparent and meaningfully accessible to the public.

Here’s their focus:

1) Technology development for enhancing government transparency

2) Community building for the transparency in government tribe

3) Talks, workshops and coding sessions to better equip technologists with the skills needed to deliver an Open Government.

I’ll be one of the less technical folks there, but hope to contribute to #2 above, and share what I know from my walk in government shoes.

Although the event filled up some time ago, I encourage you to sign up for their list for the next one (more than likely) or consider a small sponsorship.  The event wiki can be found at https://barcamp.pbwiki.com/TransparencyCamp.

Open Source Voting : An idea of Global Importance

IPA Japan Representatives

IPA Japan Representatives

I just returned from Matsue, Japan, also known famously as “Ruby City” after the programming language whose inventor lives there.

During my stay there I provided the keynote for a Shimane University-sponsored seminar on Open Source Software, Industry and Academic collaboration.  It was an honor to represent some of the institutions and groups in Oregon, the successes and challenges we’ve faced in using, promoting, developing and supporting a full open eco-system in our somewhat unique state.  Key to my message and encouragement to participants from all sectors of their region was this; if you want to demonstrate the value of open source to non-technical constituencies, identify and collaborate on a project with clear public benefit.

One of the panelists was Mr. Hatta from Japan’s Information-Technology Promotion Agency’s (IPA).  He told me later he changed his presentation as I spoke, struck by the proposition of public benefit projects.  I’ll ask for his presentation and share it here soon.

His wrap-up recommendation: create a public benefit project and the suggestion that project might be an Open Source Election system,  apparently an idea with universal appeal/compelling need.

I’ll come back soon to sharing more about my travels to Matsue City, their impressive open source software initiative, the investment their government has made, and the outstanding collaboration between the university, industry and public sectors.

I’d also be remiss in my public benefit duties if I did not provide a final plug for the February 18th Open Source Digital Voting Foundation’s (OSDV.org)  “TrustTheVote” intro in Portland, Oregon (see prior post for agenda).  I’m looking forward to introducing them to my colleagues in Japan soon, and looking forward to hearing from Gregory Miller and John Sebes, the co-founders, even sooner.

osdv_logo

TrustTheVote! intro in Portland, Oregon

Feb 18, 2009, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

CubeSpace, 622 SE Grand Ave, Portland

Open Source Voting Systems On the Way

osvd

I’ve recently been asked to join as an adviser to the Open Source Digital Voting Foundation.  In my view, this is one of the most important open source projects around for the US system of democracy.  I was deeply impressed by their open standards specification,  public trust approach and the work they’ve done thus far – with little public fan fare – to establish the non-partisan initiative which has become known as “TrustTheVote!”.

Recognizing a large, active OSS community exists in Oregon, the OSDV is coming to Portland on February 18th to introduce their project.  Although the meeting content is designed for a technical audience, the project overview and progress-to-date would be of interest to many.

Here’s a description of the event.  You can also view details including a map to the event at Portland’s CubeSpace on Yahoo or Calagator.  If you’re in the area, hope to see you there!

TrustTheVote! intro in Portland, Oregon, Feb 18, 2009

Discover this imperative “public digital works project” of the Open Source Digital Voting Foundation. The OSDV Foundation is a Silicon Valley based public benefits corporation whose mission is to work to restore trust in how America votes through the design, development, and demonstration of open source digital voting technology.

Join us to learn details about the “TrustTheVote Project,” a well funded non-profit effort which has been under the radar for 2 years. The OSDV Foundation is now raising public awareness, and expanding efforts including a planned development center in Portland, Oregon.

Our guests are two executives of the Foundation including its Chief Technology Officer. Their presentation will:

  • Introduce the project, its motivation, founding, and development efforts to date;
  • Walk through the TrustTheVote technology road map and review major projects underway;
  • Discuss development philosophies and approaches including experience-driven design and test-driven agile development;
  • Review opportunities for systems architects, software developers, SDQA/test specialists, and user experience designers;
  • Cover plans to expand the volunteer developer teams, future opportunities for senior members of technical staff, and opportunities for you to get involved.

Presenters:
Gregory Miller, Chief Development Officer

E. John Sebes, Chief Technology Officer

event on: Yahoo or Calagator

Community Source and Goverment Applications

I’m working on following up with a number of requests for information post-GOSCON.  Always number one on my list; agencies looking to determine if/how they might jump in to using open source software development methodology to produce government-specific applications.  These applications are typically costly since the market for such is limited.  Developing the same vertical application for all Secretaries of State’s office, for example, is still just fifty customers and makes for a small pool to amortize the cost of commercial development.

The one of the early pioneers of community source model is Dr. Brad Wheeler at Indiana University.  In late 2006 the Open Source Lab management team interviewed him by video conference to extract some advice for others on creating governance for a community source project.  I came across the resulting  debrief and thought I’d put it somewhere it could be shared more broadly.  Here it is for download:

“Community Source” Project Governance:
The Sakai Project as a Potential Reference Model for Public Sector Community Source Development

I think it’s valuable to consider that the model of shared development suggest benefits beyond sharing the cost and resulting application, such as sharing business practices and processes, knowledge base and documentation.  But I digress.  We’ll share more from the experts from our Open Government Collaboratives 2008 panel as soon as we get the conference media through GOSCON post-production.

GOSCON/World Bank Global Webcast Scheduled

International Government Open Source Dignitaries Lead Discussion

I promised to share information on the webcast when it became available.  Here it is:

Government Open Source Conference (GOSCON),  Oregon State University

and the World Bank’s e-Development Thematic Group

invite you to join via live webcast a
videoconferenced Global Dialogue between Portland, Washington DC, Moscow,
Colombo, Dakar, Accra, Kigali and Brasilia on:

The Impact of Open Source Software on Transforming Government

12:00 – 3:00 pm (Washington DC time), October 20, 2008

LIVE WEBCAST: http://www.worldbank.org/edevelopment/live

Preregistration is recommended at the webcast site.

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Public Health IT Track at GOSCON Gains Education Credits

It’s that time of year….I’m all about delivering a quality Government Open Source Conference in Portland in just a few weeks.

Today I’m pretty thrilled that GOSCON has been approved by the Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) for up to 4.5 contact hours of continuing education credit towards renewal of the CPHIMS credential.

Sessions approved for credit include:

Census Says: Governments are Biggest Users of Open Source Software

Objective data, benchmarks and other numeric tangibles have been difficult to come by when discussing the update of open source software in Government.  Much analysis remains the domain of corporate-sponsored reports, so its always interesting to see published indicators.  I talk to agencies – in the US and abroad – every day that use open source software so anecdotal evidence abounds.  But numbers, of course, are better.

Although a press release certainly isn’t a peer-reviewed paper, it does reflect and validate what us government folks have known for some time; government agencies have been earlier-than-usual adopter of open source and are using it extensively.  This according to the Open Source Census project.  Their initial Continue reading