October 24, 2010

What Do We Tell the Government?

This coming Thursday I am speaking at GOSCON, a conference organized with the specific intentions of informing governmental IT users about open source. Most of the speakers will be from the government side if the last such event I attended is typical, so I am giving a talk called No Free Lunch. The idea is to suggest ways that government can maximize the benefits of using open source, and provide open source teams with resources that will enable us to increase production, so this isn't just a talk for the Python Software Foundation - I want to represent a wider community if I can.

Twitter friends have already provided some useful ideas, but I will be happy to weave more in there if you can provide them. So, what would you like to see government (which in this context is principally the executive branch, but I am happy to include points for the legislative and judicial branches if you have them) doing for open source?


Catherine said...

Oooh, me me me! As your designated military-industrial complex employee, let me say...

- there's no code sharing within the federal government. Nothing like a sourceforge.gov with packages designed by governmental workers for their needs. I write all sorts of software specialized to meet various internal government regulatory requirements and have no way to distribute it to others in the government who could make use of it, or (more importantly) publicize it to them.

- no awareness of the value of the tech community. The only efforts to enhance employees' tech knowledge come through sporadic demands to view spectacularly dumb training videos or to obtain meaningless certifications from e.g. CompTIA.

- and, of course, the general bureaucratic baloney: lists of Officially Approved Software that are absurdly short, outdated, hard to update, and proprietary-skewed; management that knows less than nothing about FOSS; etc. But those are the too-obvious-to-say complaints.

Steve said...

Thanks very much, Catherine. I added a slide at the start of the talk entitled "A Word from the Ranks" with abbreviated bullets for each of your three points.

I'd appreciate your opinion on the video, which should be on-line before too long. I'll post a URL if I find one.

holdenweb said...

UPDATE: I was told a couple of days ago that the video should be up "soon".