Government

Helping the European Parliament to release its own free software

open parliament

For the first time, the European Parliament is about to release one of its own programs as Free Software. The program in question is called AT4AM, short for "Automatic Tool for Amendments". The Parliament is in the business of making laws, and AT4AM automates a lot of the formal stuff associated with the production process.

To understand what AT4AM means for MEPs and their staff, have a look at how amendments were filed before, and how it works now. (Vimeo. Flash required, sorry.) Parliament staffer Erik Josefsson compared the introduction of AT4AM to the arrival of version control for developers. It's been in use inside the parliament for about 18 months, and it's a pretty fundamental tool for the people working there. » Read more

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5 Questions with David A. Wheeler

5 Questions

Meet David A. Wheeler. He's a Research Staff Member for the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) and a well-known speaker, author, and expert on open source software and security. He helped develop the Department of Defense's open source software policy and FAQ and has written other guidance materials to help people understand how to use and collaboratively develop open source software in government. He has a Ph.D. in Information Technology, an M.S. in Computer Science, and a B.S. in Electronics Engineering. We hope you enjoy getting to know David. » Read more

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PolitwOOPs! Deleted tweets from politicians never die

Donkey elephant oops

A brief tweet from Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) recently invited you to see her newly-decorated apartment and head-to-toe fashions. The problem? It wasn't her apartment. The link led to the website of a staffer in her press office and was promptly deleted from Twitter fifty-seven seconds later. Looks like someone got their social media accounts mixed up.

That might be the end of the story, except the gaffe lives on through Politwoops, an archive of deleted tweets from U.S. politicians hosted by the Sunlight Foundation. » Read more

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An open source city takes shape: The impact of Open Raleigh

An open source city takes shape: The impact of Open Raleigh

In part one of this series, we talked about open government scoring another victory with the City of Raleigh's Open Raleigh initiative. We reviewed the technological components of the open data portal, including ESRI, Granicus, GovDelivery, and SeeClickFix. It's pretty clear that these tools and ways of thinking are having an impact on Raleigh governance.  But what about the other way around?  Is the open government initiative taking place contagious?  We hope so. » Read more

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The Accumulo challenge, part II

To compete or collaborate

In Part I, we discussed the Senate Armed Services Committee (SACS)'s attempt to hobble the open source Accumulo project in the DOD. They directed the Department's CIO to jump through a number of reporting hoops before Accumulo would be allowed inside the DOD, and directed the Accumulo team to upstream their work into related open source projects. It appears to be an attempt to dismantle the project on the assumption that it was competing with products and project from the private sector. » Read more

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Free, open ebook offers ideas for rebooting American government

How would you reboot American government?

In 2008, representatives of the Personal Democracy Forum sent dozens of writers, pundits, politicians, entrepreneurs, researchers, and think-tankers the following prompt: » Read more

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An open source city takes shape: Open, online tools and data

An open source city takes shape: Open, online tools and data

Open government scored another victory when the City of Raleigh announced the Open Raleigh initiative—an online repository with open data, web and mobile applications, and links to participatory tools and organizations. It’s all part of Raleigh’s open source strategy focusing on transparency, collaboration, and improved access to information. It’s proof of the ongoing work of the public-facing, open source resolution Raleigh unanimously passed earlier this year. » Read more

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European Parliament expects open source usage report

European Parliament expects open source usage report

The European Parliament's Directorate General for Innovation and Technological Support is to produce report on the EP's free and open source software programmes. MEP Bart Staes (Group of the Green and European Free Alliance) on 10 May added this as a requirement for the discharge of the EP's 2010 budget committee. » Read more

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The Accumulo challenge, part I

The Accumulo challenge, part I

The dozens of software projects launched in the wake of Google's Big Table and Map Reduce papers have changed the way we handle large datasets. Like many organizations, the NSA began experimenting with these "big data" tools and realized that the open source implementations available at the time were not addressing some of their particular needs. » Read more

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The US government’s digital strategy: The new benchmark and some lessons

The US government’s digital strategy

The White House recently launched its new roadmap for digital government. This included the publication of Digital Government: Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American People (PDF version), the issuing of a Presidential directive and the announcement of White House Innovation Fellows.

In other words, it was a big week for those interested in digital and open government. Having had some time to digest these docs and reflect upon them, below are some thoughts on these announcement and lessons I hope governments and other stakeholders take from it. » Read more

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