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