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:
http://www.icta.lk

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

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

Matsue “Ruby City” Journey

http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=67348

Matsue City is a beautiful and remote city located in the Shimane Prefecture of Japan. The region has drawn national recognition for the Matsue “Ruby City” project, a highly innovative initiative to promote open source software through a collaborative partnership created by local industry, academia and government.

I was very fortunate to have been invited to participate in a number of events in early February to help share what the state of Oregon, industry, government and the Open Source Lab (OSL) has learned though its years in supporting the growth of the Open Source Community. The visit included meetings with Shimane University’s President Honda; Matsue’s mayor; Shimane Prefecture’s governor; keynoting at a seminar for industry and government; addressing the 37th Open Source Salon of the Open Source Software Society Shimane; spending time with colleagues from Japan’s IPA Open Source Lab (their national referendum on OSS); National Applied Communication Labs and Mr. Inoue and Matz; touring historic and scenic sights in Matsue – a beautiful blend of historic and traditional architecture and modern as well – and enjoying many wonderful meals courtesy of my hosts.

Many thanks especially go to Mr. Doi from the City of Matuse, to Mr. Noda of Shimane University, and especially to Mr. Tansho my host and translator – and of course to Shimane University which sponsored my visit. The dedication of these three individuals to this project is amazing as is the commitment of everyone I met from all sectors – education, private industry and government.

BTW plans are underway for a “Ruby for Business” conference fall of 2009 in Matsue, drop a line if you are intersted in talking with the organizers.

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

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.

Brazil: Joint Development Defines Free Software & Standards

It’s Day One of GOSCON and we’re about to start our distributed discussion “Global Dialogue on the Impact of Open Source Software in Transforming Government”. Marcos Vinicius Ferreira Mazoni shared these comments on the sustained government initiative in Brazil to use open source and open standards – proprietary software not excluded.  Comments include his views the value of collaboration and knowledge- Continue reading

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