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!)

Nominations Sought for Open Source Software use in Government


GOSCON AWARDS for Open Business Use in Government Nominations are now being accepted for the 2009 Excellence Awards for Open Source Business Use in Government.

It’s true.  After five years of operation of the Government Open Source Conference, we’re looking forward to recognizing government employees who have made significant accomplishments in the application of Open Source Technology to meet government business or mission requirements.

To nominate a government employee or project, visit http://www.goscon.org/awards for information and an on-line submission form.  Deadline is Friday Oct 23 2009.

Open Source for America Unvieled at OSCON

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Not too long ago I attended TransparencyCamp in DC and led a discussion on how to work with government.  The session was intended for technologists and advocates. I was pleasantly

surprised to find one of the participants was a senate staffer.  After listening to much of the discussion she explained that she had worked on a bill that included a

role for open source software which eventually failed to move forward.  Her question to me:  why was that no one from the open source community stepped forward or offered to help answer questions.  Where were they?  Her question gave me pause.

Several moths later, the cavalry has arrived.  Along with the town crier, the

librarian, the community manager, the mayor and a cadre of plumbers.  The newly formed coalition is “Open Source for America”, and I’m pleased to have bee

n a par

t of its founding effort.  Read more at the association web site.

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.

Webcast | e-Sri Lanka: Transforming Government and Society with ICT

srilanka_girlMy colleagues at the Global IT Group in DC and the e-Development Thematic Group in Russia at the World Bank are producing another outstanding web cast and I wanted to pass along the news.   These are very informative and professionally produced global discussions.  Sri Lanka’s expereince is of particular interest to me as they worked to make extensive use of open source software and have one of the highest per-captial ratios of software developers contributing to global open source projects.  Drop in on them and see:

e-Sri Lanka: Transforming Government and Society with ICT

When: May 28, 2009, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ET (GMT – 4 hours)

Live webcast: http://vcg01.worldbank.org/eDev

World Bank invites you to this seminar to discuss lessons learned from
implementing an integrated e-government and e-development program in Sri
Lanka and setting up a dedicated government agency to support this agenda.
The E-Sri Lanka initiative, which became effective in January 2005 is one
of the pioneering ICT for Development projects supported by the World
Bank. This ambitious e-development project aims to bring connectivity to
rural populations, improve the way government operates and raise awareness
of the benefits of ICT for remote rural populations as well as support the
development of a vibrant private ICT sector. The leadership team from Sri
Lanka’s ICT Agency will present (i) the original E-Sri Lanka vision and
(ii) emerging lessons and key results after the first four years of
implementation experience. To learn more about e-Sri Lanka program visit:

Event details: http://go.worldbank.org/8RRMW83HB0

You can ask questions and post comments via Twitter (#eSL09) which will be
shared live with the speakers and audience in Washington

Government Open Source Conference DC Call for Speakers is open


The June 23, 2009 Government Open Source Conference (GOSCON) DC Call for Speakers is now open!

The conference will  include one day of intense GOSCON program content, exciting keynotes, lightening-round sessions, rich opportunities to network with peers.  Topics include:

  • Open Source in the Enterprise
  • Sustainability
  • Policy
  • Open Collaboration & Federal Grants
  • Open Health IT- Vertical Showcase on Public Health
  • Effective E-Government – Gov 2.0

Speaker Guideline and online proposal forms are availlable through the conference Call for Speakers page.