Non profits and governments...this is how open source works: If someone is doing something that is of value to you, help make it better.
There have been two great examples of this type of behaviour on my blog over the past week.
On Monday, I blogged about Represent, a project by OpenNorth that seeks to track all the boundary data in Canada so that citizens can locate what ridings, jurisdictions, regions, etc... they are located in. Yesterday, Elijah van der Giessen, the Creative Services Lead at David Suzuki Foundation commented that:
The David Suzuki Foundation is really jazzed by this project. This is going to solve some big infrastructure gaps for us as our campaigners refocus on the cities and provinces (let's just say the Feds are gonna be a tough nut to crack for the next while!).
I've assigned some programming interns and staff time to supporting OpenNorth.ca, and I encourage other NGOs to contribute to the project.
This is exactly how open source projects grow and become more valuable. I definitely applaud the David Suzuki Foundation for taking this step and hope other non-profits and for profits that see value in Represent will also step forward.
Another example involves cities that are trying to rethink their software stack. Sometimes, projects, especially small projects, just need to find the right people. The other week David Hill the CIO of Marin County posted on my blog that he was looking for partners to adapt KUALI financials (an open source financial software solution developed for an by universities) to the local government context. I posted his comment as a blog post and readers have started to send me contact information for other government CIOs that might find this project interesting. Most notably, it turns out that the City of Bloomington, Indiana are "supporters" of the Kuali project and already have Kuali RICE middleware up and running and is currently evaluating the KPME time & attendance module. Here are two cities that are moving down the same path and may find real benefits to working together.
I'd love nothing more than to see a Kuali for cities emerge. It might radically reshape the software procurement world in government. I hope that Marin County and Bloomington are able to connect.
Fun times in the blogosphere!