Government

Video: Innovation, collaboration, and government mandates

If you haven't already, you should meet Venky Hariharan. He's one of the most passionate and articulate advocates for open source and open standards in India or anywhere else. Every time we meet, I get a little smarter. At our last meeting, we were lucky enough to have a video camera. » Read more

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Welcome to the government channel

Governments have a responsibility to provide services for the well-being of their citizens in the most effective and efficient manner possible.  We believe that openness, transparency, and collaboration can provide government leaders with a better way to achieve these goals.  On this channel, we'll talk about open source in the government context by sharing successes, as well as challenges, so that all of us can hold our government leaders accountable for the choices they make. » Read more

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European Commission stands against vendor lock-in

Lock on a building

After a decade-long battle, terms of a settlement agreement were finally reached last week between the European Commission and Microsoft regarding anticompetitiveness. The official settlement is a win for European consumers, but the simultaneous Public Undertaking on Interoperability issued by the company leaves much to be desired for the open source community. » Read more

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What the Open Government Directive Means for open source

On the heels of the Open Government Memo of January 21st, 2009, the Obama Administration has issued the Open Government Directive. The Directive tells agencies what they must do to meet the expectations set by the Memo. The directive names many deadlines for agency compliance, most of them around reducing FOIA backlogs and increasing the amount of agency data released to the public. This isn't surprising, since the Memo names transparency, collaboration, and participation as the guiding principles. » Read more

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Open Textbook bill

One of the best sessions at the Big Ideas Fest education conference in California last week was delivered by Hal Plotkin, a senior policy advisor in the US Department of Education.

What could be more fascinating than watching a high school dropout explain how open textbooks, sponsored by the US Government, might be used a tool of the administration to rebuild America's credibility with the world? » Read more

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The U.S. Department of Defense ♥ Open Source

I had the opportunity to listen to David Wennergren, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), at GOSCON last week in Washington, DC. Wennergren was the signer of the DoD’s Clarifying Guidance Regarding Open Source Software, which garnered a lot of attention from open source advocates. » Read more

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What's wrong with champerty?

Let's bring back barratry, maintenance, and champerty for patent lawsuits.  Combine that with a limitation on the assignment of patents and a lot of patent trolls would be out of business.

This is what barratry, maintenance and champerty meant in England in 1916: » Read more

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US Courts: open source will make you break the law

Most of you already know about the US Courts' shameful profiteering through the PACER system. They charge $0.08/page for public court documents and in so doing stifle the public's access to their own content. Not long ago, our friends at CITP released an open source project called RECAP. When you install this gem in your browser, documents your retrieve from PACER are deposited in a public archive, where they can be retrieved by everyone, at no cost, forever. So no surprise that US Courts is now discouraging the use of the plugin. They stand to lose a lot of cash if these documents are free. What surprised me first is this little gem: » Read more

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Open courseware and the perils of government support

Higher education is now almost absurdly expensive. In an effort to reduce the cost of developing and delivering educational material, there are a number of initiatives around open curricula right now. The idea is that content generated by the academic community can be made freely available so that professors and publishers don't have to reinvent the wheel each time. It's basically a commons for educational content. » Read more

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