The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced this week that when it creates software or contracts with others to create software, it will share the code with the public at no charge. "We use open-source software, and we do so because it helps us fulfill our mission."
- The CFPB’s source code policy: open and shared, By Matthew Burton, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau blog (Apr 6 2012).
We're sharing our code for a few reasons:
First, it is the right thing to do: the Bureau will use public dollars to create the source code, so the public should have access to that creation.
Second, it gives the public a window into how a government agency conducts its business. Our job is to protect consumers and to regulate financial institutions, and every citizen deserves to know exactly how we perform those missions.
Third, code sharing makes our products better. By letting the development community propose modifications , our software will become more stable, more secure, and more powerful with less time and expense from our team. Sharing our code positions us to maintain a technological pace that would otherwise be impossible for a government agency.
White House Begins Open Sourcing Data.gov, By J. Nicholas Hoover, Information Week (December 05, 2011).
The Obama administration has begun to open source pieces of the Data.gov platform and plans to launch a full-scale open source project early next year. This open data platform--called Data.gov-in-a-box--will allow other governments to easily stand up their own versions of Data.gov.
Data.gov developer and General Services Administration software architect Chris Musialek last Wednesday posted to open source development site Github some early test code for what appears to be a database management system and Web app that will serve as key pieces of Data.gov-in-a-box....
Viewshare is a free platform for generating and customizing views, (interactive maps, timelines, facets, tag clouds) that allow users to experience your digital collections.
Viewshare is available to individuals associated with cultural heritage organizations including, but not limited to, individuals associated with libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, colleges and universities.
- Get an account.
- Import your collection. (Ingest collections from spreadsheets or MODS records. Upload from your desktop or import them from a URL. )
- Generate views (distinct interactive visual interfaces to your digital collections, including maps and timelines, and sophisticated faceted navigation).
- Embed and share. (Just copy-paste to embed your interface in any webpage. Provide your users with novel and intuitive ways to explore your content.)
- Announcement: "ViewShare.org: Create and Share Interfaces to Our Digital Cultural Heritage," by Trevor Owens, Digital Archivist with the Office of Strategic Initiatives, Library of Congress, Digital Preservation Blog, "The Signal" (October 31st, 2011)
- Terms of Service
Open standards explained, OpenSource.Com, by Jason Hibbets (13 Oct 2010).
Hibbets introduces two videos by Venky Hariharan (Corporate Affairs Director, Asia-Pacific, at Red Hat).
In this two-part video on the importance of open standards, Venky Hariharan details what open standards are, why open standards are appropriate for e-government, why you should care about how your government preserves your data, and why governments should adopt open standards.
White House contributes to open-source project, GCN (Apr 22, 2010).
Much of the [White House website] is already open source as part of the Drupal project.... Today's release [of open source code for Whitehouse.gov] adds custom code to Drupal, making the White House a participant in open-source development.
The release adds four modules to enhance three key characteristics: scalability, communication and accessibility.
See the announcement "WhiteHouse.gov Releases Open Source Code" Posted by Dave Cole on April 21, 2010 at 04:26 PM EDT at http://www.whitehouse.gov/tech.
Calling all 21st century librarians: the fine folks at Citability and the League of Technical Voters Project are organizing a weekend code-a-thon in Washington DC April 9th - 11th. The goal is to create open source tools aimed at improving government accessibility and accountability. But you don't have to be a coder to participate. They're also looking for librarians! Now's your chance to put your govt information skills toward an amazing project.
If you live in Washington DC area, please Sign up for the DC Code-a-thon today Join with lots of smart people working hard and having fun for the great cause of govt transparency!
Today, the White House Web site (whitehouse.gov) switched to the open source Drupal platform -- the same software running FGI! I'm glad they made the shift. It's one thing to talk about transparency the way the Obama administration has done, it's another to use tools imbued with openness and transparency in order to get to that goal.
White House opens Web site programming to public
By PHILIP ELLIOTT
The Associated Press
Saturday, October 24, 2009
[tip 'o the hat to Chris Messina!]
Cory Doctorow, co-editor at boingboing.net, Fellow for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and contributor to Wired, Popular Science, the New York Times, etc., has published a book called Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future and it's available for download on his website...for free! Cory is an advocate of the Creative Commons organization, using some of their licenses for his own books.
Here is an excerpt:
Back in 1985, the Senate was ready to clobber the music industry for exposing America’s impressionable youngsters to sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll. Today, the Attorney General is proposing to give the RIAA legal tools to attack people who attempt infringement.
Through most of America’s history, the U.S. government has been at odds with the entertainment giants, treating them as purveyors of filth. But not anymore: today, the U.S. Trade Rep is using America’s political clout to force Russia to institute police inspections of its CD presses. (Savor the irony: post-Soviet Russia forgoes its hard-won freedom of the press to protect Disney and Universal!)
How did entertainment go from trenchcoat pervert to top trade priority? I blame the “Information Economy.”
No one really knows what “Information Economy” means, but by the early ’90s, we knew it was coming...
"In 2002, Congress passed the Help America Vote Act in response to the hanging-chad debacle of Florida's 2000 presidential elections. The act's main thrust was to provide money to states to replace outdated punch-card- and lever-based voting systems with optical-scan or touchscreen models. The act largely accomplished that goal, filling the coffers of closed source voting system manufacturers. In doing so, the act may have inadvertently placed the country in a worse situation...."
"Current U.S. policy ensures that e-voting remains in the hands of very few proprietary vendors.... But the key to securing e-voting resides in making its systems open source."
- Open source: How e-voting should be done, by Paul Venezia, IDG News Service, InfoWorld, October 27, 2008.
Last week, at the Technology Review's Emerging Technologies Conference held at MIT, there was a panel on electronic voting systems in which CA Secretary of State Debra Bowen participated -- along with Moderator Jason Pontin, Editor in Chief, Technology Review; Doug Chapin, Director, electionline.org; Ronald L. Rivest, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT; and Pamela Smith, President, Verified Voting Foundation. You may remember that in 2007, Bowen ordered a complete top-to-bottom review of voting systems in CA. I'm really glad to see a top-level politician sitting on a panel of cutting edge technologists and really, really glad to hear that top-level politician advocate for Open-source software.
Now, I'm not saying the open source is the end all and be all solution to the myriad issues facing e-voting (see Bev harris' Black Box Voting for more on those issues); but it's great to see that Bowen at least gets that open source software is at least part of the solution. We've been saying that for quite some time. For a complete wrapup of the panel see Lucas Mearian's ComputerWorld blog
One method of addressing software issues associated with the vast majority of proprietary e-voting applications out there is to move to using open source, especially for applications residing on optical scanners, which have been particularly troublesom. The concern is that IT administrators can't look at the software to correct errors or tweak it for a particular county's needs. Open source would go a long ways to disclosing problems associated with today's propretary e-voting applications, Bowen said.