Free and Open Source Strategy for Wellington

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Jack Yan has approached the NZOSS asking if we can put our collective heads together and come up with the a FOSS friendly strategy for Wellington. Jack is one of the candidates running in this year's Wellington Mayoral elections (see http://jackyanformayor.org/).

The NZOSS council has agreed to the request. This is not because the NZOSS endorses any particular candidate but because we think that policy for local government adoption of FOSS is sorely lacking. As this will be an open process, any candidate is welcome to participate and to adopt the outcomes.

A study in the UK showed that local authorities are spending between 30 and 40 percent of their ICT budget on software licences (http://ukgovoss.org. At a time when councils are looking to reduce budgets and reduce services we think a very close look should be taken at the software procurement processes in local government and in particular why FOSS is not the preferred option.

Please post your thoughts and suggestions under this article or on the Openchat mailing list. We will pull together suggestions and put up a policy for further discussions.

This is an exciting challenge for the society and we thank Jack for giving it to us.

Jack Yan's email to the NZOSS President:

Dear Don:

As you know, I'm running for Mayor of Wellington and it appears my opponents are not particularly clued up on what it takes to move the capital forward technologically and creatively.

With your work at the Open Source Society, I wonder if you would be able to have your team put their heads together and look at creating an open source strategy for the city.

I believe it's the logical way forward for us, on a number of fronts. Internally, it would make sense for the Council, so resources can be better spent on community services; from a public relations' perspective, it would be in keeping with the high-tech image that Wellington should promote.

Your input and advice would be most welcome.

With kind regards,

Jack

Hi

I have just posted the review carried out for the Public Sector Remix of what some overseas governments are doing on the FLOSS policy front.

http://nzoss.org.nz/news/2010/review-overseas-governments-floss-policy

The use of Open Source Software (i.e. Public Sector Remix desktops) is but one part of the system, Open Standards is key. This lessens the tendency for suppliers to push marketing-related "upgrades" and allows the easy sharing of data between departments and with the public. It's the sharing of data that is likely to excite the public more. The more the council shares with the public, the more kudos and participation it will receive in return. Examples range from opening the roadworks schedules to making free audio downloads of sponsored music events.

Lots of things to fill the bandwidth on Jack's proposed city-wide WiFi :)

Given the success of events like PublicACTA it would seem sensible to have a public, non-partisan forum arranged to discuss the ideas and issues.

Vik :v)