Open source projects at GOSCON

I am in Portland for the annual GOSCON conference, the government open source conference. I spoke at session this morning on using open source to adopt open standards; I think the session went well.

One of the reasons I wanted to come to GOSCON is that I believe the next wave of important open source projects will be implementations for specific vertical industries, ex. government systems. IMHO, different state, local and national governments can derive a lot of benefit by collaborating on open source projects. Therefore, I was please to see two early examples:

  1. Gateway is an open source implementation of the US state sales tax reporting system, led by the State of Vermont. No other State is participating in the project but it seems to be early days. I asked the presenter what were some of the barrier and he said ‘a lot of the States use .Net and we use Java’. 😦 btw, they also use Eclipse.
  2. CAPITS openRMS is a record management system for police forces. This project isn’t really open source, no OSI approved license, the code is only available to gov’t agencies and it doesn’t appear others can contribute. However, they seem to want to move in that direction but are probably an example of a ‘community’ source project. They seem to be having issues with generating participation and contribution from the community. It made me wonder if they were more open, if things would get better.

I also attended a really interested session by Tim Schweizer on Using Parallel Thinking to Promote Collaboration. An interesting workshop on a set of tools called ‘Six Thinking Hats‘ that seem to promote collaborative thinking. He also talked about  TRIZ , a method used to encourage innovative thinking. Tim claimed a lot of organizations are using TRIZ to drive their innovation networks. Both seem pretty interesting and I think I will head out to Powells in Portland to buy some books.

4 thoughts on “Open source projects at GOSCON

  1. The .NETJava “problem” can in most cases easilly be solved with IKVM. It’s at least worth looking into before you conclude that the difference in frameworks makes integration impossible.

  2. The .NET↔Java issues with the Gateway is not integration but an adoption issue. There are states that could take this and be up and running in a few weeks (and replace manual process they have in place). But they don’t,’because we are a .Net shop’.

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