Federal Agency Co-Op CENDI Issues FAQ including Open Source Software

Vicki E. Allums, Associate General Counsel for Intellectual Property at the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) will join GOSCON this week  to discuss  a document released today by CENDI, a cooperative of the major Federal science, technology and information centers.  The document titled “Frequently Asked Questions about Copyright and Computer Software: Issues Affecting the U.S. Government with Special Emphasis on Open Source Software”, its principal authors from Defense Information Systems Agency and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is expected to serve as a useful resource as federal agencies increasingly adopt the use of open source software in their IT architectures.

Allums will walk attendees thought the new document including:

  • US Government policy guidance regarding use of Open Source Software (OSS)
  • Issues unique to federal agencies distributing OSS
  • OSS copyright licensing and contractual considerations for the US Government
  • Advantages and Disadvantages to federal agencies using OSS as an alternative to proprietary technologies.

Hope you can join me at GOSCON this week and not miss these important milestones in the evolution of information technology within the US Government.

Best Practices for Software Development in Government

presentationimagepngLast winter I received a request from the US Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Policy to come Charleston and meet with a group of innovative law enforcement execs. If you belong to the public safety community or are interested in how governments are making collaboratives work, a copy of my presentation is viewable on google from this link:

http://docs.google.com/Presentation?id=dfj65hxm_1404gk5kchg

Brazil Video Short: Software Livre – Free Software Initiative

Last week I posted the transcript of Marcos Vinicius Ferreira Mazoni comments addressing the International Open ICT Summit at GOSCON on the sustained government initiative in Brazil to use free open source software and open standards.  Mazoni’s encouragement to increase the dialog between countries resonated with participants in Portland and those joining by video conference, representing a half dozen continents.

The original video is now available in Portuguese, with English subtitles and runs five minutes.

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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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