Getting Open Source Logic INto Government (GOSLING)

Canadian Census controversy continues

A NewsForge article from Bruce Byfield includes:

The security of the system also remains uncertain. Although a letter summarizing the results of an internal security audit by Census employees is available online, it mentions no details, including whether the audit included the client side applet. An external audit seems to have been omitted entirely, although the Canadian Common Criteria Evaluation and Certification Scheme exists for precisely that purpose.

Locked out of Census2006

Today, a friend contacted me about the technical requirements for the online version of this year's census. This requirements page lists several different versions of Windows (and Mac[OS X]), but no versions of Linux, BSD and other alternative operating systems that might be used by Canadians. The site does indicate acceptable versions of Mozilla and Firefox, which are available for a multitude of environments, but suggests that use of these browsers in completing the online version of Census 2006 must be limited to Windows. Firefox also runs on MacOS X, but Mac users, as suggested by the technical requirements, are only permitted to use Safari. This is a weird incongruency. If MacOS X is supported and Firefox 1.0.4 is supported, why can the two not be combined?

Earning Money in Open Source

Dru Lavigne posted on her BLOG about a recent cartoon that had the caption "We've decided to make all our products open source, and replace everyone's salary with tip jars."

That actually touches on one of the great mysteries of Open Source: exactly how does one become immersed in Open Source and still pay the bills on time?

When I first saw the cartoon I commented in the GOSLING Ottawa forum:

I know it's humour, but it doesn't quite get it. Tip jars are yet another post-payment system which fails for many of the same reasons that monopoly rents do, while most successful FLOSS business models are in some way pre-payment or salary (for the developers...).

Discussing Technology policy issues in Ottawa during election.

Are you interested in meeting with people who are both politically active and interested in technology issues? People that will be talking about copyright, software patents, and other such issues during the election? If you are in the Ottawa area, come join us at the weekly GOSLING gaggle.

We meet some time after 16:30 each Friday at the The Black Bear Pub @ Albert and Bay.

GOSLING Quarterly Keynote Discussion Series: Friday 18 November, 2005

Quarterly Keynote Discussion Series: Dealing with Spreadsheet Addiction

Guest Speaker: J. C. Nash, Professor, School of Management, University of Ottawa

No fee for admission.
3:00-4:00 p.m. Friday 18 November, 2005
Budge Crawley Theatre, Constitution Square Building, Main Floor
350 Albert Street, Ottawa

Many organizations and managers suffer a quiet addiction to spreadsheets. First turned on through easy availability, they typically get drawn into overuse through the attraction of cells that can be whatever they want them to be, designer macros, and charts in psychedelic colours. Yet all of these attractions hide the power of these uncontrolled programming environments to accidentally lose VERY large amounts of money, and to make it difficult or impossible to detect misreporting. Empirical studies demonstrate that the proportion of spreadsheets without serious errors is 0% (Yes ZERO %).

Open source: Developing markets look for alternatives to U.S.

This special CNET feature by Ingrid Marson focuses on developing markets (majority world countries) and their motivations for migrating to Free/Libre and Open Source Software.

Hilighted countries:

GOSLING a shining example of IT innovation through shared ideas

This Technology in Government article by Dan Perley includes:

According to, GOSLING (Getting Open Source Logic INto Governments) is “a voluntary, informal learning and knowledge-sharing community of practice, involving civil servants and other citizens who actively assist the engagement of free/libre open source methods and software solutions in government operations.”

That, however, is a bit like referring to a modern airliner as a .hunk of metal that flies; it does not really do GOSLING full justice. GOSLING is much, much more than that. It is the visionary leadership shown by IT economist Joseph Potvin who has been working at PWGSC for the past four years, and by Russell McOrmond, an independent consultant and intellectual property expert, both of whom have worked tirelessly to make GOSLING a reality.

GOSCON debates open source RFPs

This Newsforge article by Jay Lyman includes:

Attendees of the first ever Government Open Source Conference (GOSCON) in Portland, Ore., last week heard about how the thinking and approach of government agencies must change to gain the cost-savings and other advantages of open source software.

US Open Source Movement Gets a Lobby

This eWeek article by Chris Preimesberger includes:

The National Center will be administered by the Open Source Software Institute on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Miss. It will consist of three components: a National Open Source Resource Center; an academic Open Source Center of Excellence; and an Open Source Public Policy Institute.

MySQL AB: Guide to Open Source Software in Government

This white paper by MySQL AB includes:

In this white paper, we review some of the reasons why open source software is ideally suited to government. We also provide examples of where open source software in general, and the MySQL open source database in particular, have enabled government organizations to develop and deploy highly scalable applications at a fraction of the total cost of traditional, closed source software.

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