Year-in-Review: Government hot topics on

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We have policies. Now what?

In recent years, news of open source or open standards policies dominated our news feeds. Each new policy was hailed as a victory by advocates of open source. While there has been no shortage of successful news stories around open source implementations this year, we’ve marked a growing, uncomfortable trend. Governments, even those who’ve established excellent open technology policies, are still struggling to put those policies into practice.

The current government policy landscape, for me, is best summed up in this article by Paul Brownell:

Government after government, it seemed, was stepping up and laying the ground work for public-sector adoption and private-sector growth of open standards and open source software... But interspersed throughout these reports are stories and anecdotes of government policies being ignored, abandoned, or reversed.

Why are governments "talking the talk" but not always "walking the walk?"

Brownell points out that "public agencies in most countries lack the expertise, the experience, the will, and sometimes the courage to purchase open source."

This year has been a reminder that an open source policy is an important step for governments to take. However, it’s only the first step. As Mark Bohannon noted in his article about 2013 government trends, "Increasingly, governments are wrestling with the 'how tos' of open source choices; not 'whether' to use it."

Our readers (and contributors) have demonstrated that they’re willing to help governments become both consumers and contributors in the open source community. This year’s government posts focused on the practicality of open source implementation in the public sector, as opposed to the mere principle. 

Catch up on your reading from 2013 with our top 10 list. Maybe you’ll be inspired to volunteer for your local government’s IT advisory council or start a CityCamp. Here’s to more "citizen CIOs" in 2014.

Top 10 open government articles in 2013

  1. Ozone Widget Framework required to be open source under congressional law
  2. Do you have a cloud exit strategy? Here’s one clear path.
  3. The five elements of an open source city
  4. Observations from this year's NSA Open Source Industry Day
  5. Top 5 misconceptions about open source in government programs
  6. 10 tools to help open source cities maintain transparency
  7. The rise of the citizen CIO
  8. Why some governments are struggling with open source implementation
  9. What’s ahead for open source in government
  10. Rebuilding Ecuador's economy with open source principles

Honorable mentions

Gluster rocks the vote

Default to open data: an Executive Order


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Melanie Chernoff | As Public Policy Manager for Red Hat, Inc., Melanie monitors, evaluates, and works to influence U.S. and international legislation and government regulations affecting open source technologies and open standards. She also serves as chair of the company's Corporate Citizenship committee, coordinating Red Hat's charitable activities.

1 Comment

Great article. Recent initiative by Munich in Germany to adopt open source is a very progressive approach. Indian government should formulate a better open approach which can save a lot of money.

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