Friday 2 October 2009

Australian Government initiative to set up an Open Technology Foundation

The South Australian Government, through the Office of the Chief Information Officer, have proposed to set up an "Open Technology Foundation" on behalf of Australian government which is:
  • a collaborative effort between governments, industry, academia, and communities of interest.
  • committed to the evaluation and where proven, uptake of open technologies, standards and methods.
  • exists to help governments make better, more cost effective and innovative use of open technologies in order to improve service delivery to citizens.
  • focused on openness in order to help agencies achieve more interoperability, independence, resilience and flexibility in their ICT operations.
They are currently looking for letters of support for their business plan before Wednesday 14 October 2009. An overview and webcast about the initiative can be found at .

Supporting governments embrace Open Technologies is an effective way to reduce government spending and I strongly support this.
In particular, Open Technologies facilitate cost savings by spreading development and maintenance costs between multiple agencies, both nationally and internationally. However, uptake of Open Technologies is often hindered by specific project purchasing guidelines which focus on immediate deliverables. People are not paid to spend the extra effort required to make an application easy to share. I suggest the business plan also focus on the development of purchasing guidelines which encourage Open Technologies and collaborative approaches.
Steve Schmid, the key person behind the initiative will be leading a FOSS4G in Government Birds of a Feather session at the FOSS4G conference in just over a week. Look out for him if you are going to the conference.

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