Thursday, January 20, 2011

A no-risk proposition

Open source used to evoke the scrunching of executive eyebrows and a patronizing -"it's still young and risky" comment. Things have surely changed, and the open source "movement" has proven its maturity and is fulfilling its potential.

So why are gov't executives still rolling their eyes and tensing up at the mere mention of "open source." Government is in so many cases the proverbial "late adopter". Well, better late than never. The government development and open source fit is a natural one. The transparency promise (a promise of virtually every government administration) presupposes that software developed in government IT shops is a community resource ... like any other government asset - it is public property.

This is the bottom line of what we are trying to achieve here, with our Sharegov initiative - to align the themes firmly embedded in the philosophy of public service (openness, low cost to the public, objectivity, public participation), with our software development practice. Much overdue. And substantially less risky than permanently committing to some expensive software product only because a charming sales engineer from a big company swept us off our feet during a powerpoint presentation.

We dare to suggest a little formula that will help government developers start sharing more and form a dynamic, energetic community: a little bit of extra, focused effort a couple of times a week! Just like exercise - start with regularity, and maintain discipline - working out will pay off in overall health, stamina, nimbleness... in our case, for our government organizations, for our e-government applications and projects We realize no one will give us the extra time and money to dedicate to kick-off a gov't app development "co-op", so we will give our own time and effort to get things going. We encourage you to do so too - by commenting on our blogs, taking a look at the applications we're making available, by sharing your issues, projects and your own applications. Please don't let inertia and organizational fatigue take over. We're fighting it every day ourselves.

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