Government

Open Data, Open Source, and the City of Portland

"As a city that values openness and innovation, Portland is proud to host GOSCON this year." - Mayor Sam Adams

Editors' Note: This article was originally posted on the GOSCON (Government Open Source Conference) website » Read more

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Citizen and government collaboration: let's work it out.

Over the last couple years, many of us involved with open source in government have had discussions about what it means for citizen coders to become involved in state, local and federal efforts. There are all kinds of legal, ethical, and logistics questions that haven't been answered. Everyone seems to be solving them individually, but it's not well-coordinated. This means that agencies who want to engage developers are wasting valuable time trying to figure out the "right way" to work with the public. » Read more

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What open source community?

Is there such a thing as the open source community?

A related question was covered here before, about whether the word community means anything anymore. But, I still see the term “the open source community” regularly lobbed.
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Open standards explained

Co-author: Bascha Harris

What if you woke up one day, and every file on your computer in a particular format—say all your word processing documents, or all your photographs—no longer worked?

Not that big of a deal, right? Just a few photos or files.

But what if you're a photographer and it's your business that's now vanished? » Read more

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911: Can you hear me now?

For decades, first responders have dealt with a lack of interoperable communications products. The 9/11 Commission Report1 and the Katrina Report2 both concluded that the absence of interoperable communications among public safety organizations at the local, state, and federal levels was a serious problem and hindrance to emergency response during two of the nation’s worst disasters. » Read more

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SCAP: computer security for the rest of us

I'm setting up a new computer. I get through the registration screens, install my software, change my wallpaper, and everything's working fine. I'm left, though, with a lingering, uneasy feeling: I don't know if this machine is secure. I'm a computer guy, so I know how to set up strong passwords and firewalls, but I'm still not sure if I've done everything right. I turn to my vendor, who has hopefully published a hardening guide. If I'm very enthusiastic, I might even follow the NSA's Security and Network Analysis Center Guides. If I do any of these things, I'm already being more diligent that 95% of users out there. And that's a problem. » Read more

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I'll have the oolong, with a splash of open source

Jonathan Rauch wrote in the National Journal Saturday on the “radical decentralization” of the tea party. A “Tea Party Patriots coordinator and co-founder” talks about it this way:

“I use the term open-source politics. This is an open source movement.... The movement as a whole is smart.”
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The government doesn't look good naked.

So 19 months into the Open Government Directive, we seem to have a backlash. The government has spent millions of dollars collecting, organizing, and cataloging its data to make it more available to the public. An unprecedented effort. Some of this data is frivolous, some of it is valuable, but I think we can all agree that more transparency is always — always — a good thing. » Read more

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My introduction to open source

We probably all remember the first time we tried open source. Maybe you were peer-pressured, even adventurous. Or maybe you gave it a try only to find someone looking on disapprovingly, and quickly pretended you were doing something else.

My story starts back in an environmental economics course in undergrad. It has nothing to do with software, but an idea called co-production.  
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The future of government forges

The GSA is currently planning forge.gov, which is widely assumed to be based on forge.mil, the much-discussed collaboration platform from the Defense Information Systems Agency, or DISA. forge.mil is a pretty incredible idea: a single destination for testing, certification, and software development in the Defense Department. » Read more

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