Political Push for Open Source Software
As Dieter Klemme of ISB stated last year at the ISB conference on open source software, there will be no change in practice using Microsoft products as long there is no political thrive demanding something else. OK, so let’s try it the push-way: After two months of preparation, today EVP parliamentarian Marc Jost hands in a motion demanding the promotion of open source software in public institutions in the Canton of Bern (as Mathias Born of Berner Zeitung reports). Together with other free software activists I prepared a list of seven claims how to support the use and creation of open source software in schools, universities, public administrations etc. We justified the claims with a political argumentation and an elaborate list of reference projects on a local, department, national and international level (not mentioned yet: the switch of the French parliament on Ubuntu). Hopefully, our political approach will be copied as well by other politicians on a Canton level in Switzerland. As everything in free and open source software: copy, redistribution and improvements are allowed and encouraged ;)
Update 2007-03-29: Tonight there will be a discussion in the city parliament of Bern about software license costs and how the government intends to use open source software in public institutions. So it seems like IT is slowly becoming a political issue - positive!
Update 2007-04-28: The actually handed-in motion is little bit shorter than the original version - politicians are just so busy.
Update 2007-11-27: As can be read in the protocol of the discussion (pages 17 until 25) unfortunately the Bernese parliament rejected most of the proposed points concerning a OSS strategy for our canton.
How much would Jesus share?
This and related questions are treated in the upcoming event of ChristNet and StopArmut 2015 on April 21st, 2007 in Bern. Samuel Ninck and I invited Peter Weidman of teartrade.ch to talk about Fairtrade, Karl Johannes Rechsteiner as director of the microfinance initiative Oikocredit explaining the concept of microcredits and Markus Meury, coordinator of StopArmut 2015, reporting on international trade rules. Special guest in the follow-up discussion round is EDU National Councillor Christian Waber representing the critical position on the panel. Well, an attractive Saturday afternoon is guaranted and if printing of my OpenOffice.org Draw flyer at printzessin.ch works out fine we’ll soon start inviting 5000 people ;)
Update April 23rd, 2007: All the presentations including MP3 recordings, many photos and summary of the event are now available on the StopArmut website.
Visiting the Inner Circle of TYPO3
Last Friday I was invited to the TYPO3 Association dinner. Meeting the most active contributors of this community was a great opportunity getting to know the people who created this successful open source CMS project. Talking to Dominic Brander and Adrian Zimmermann of Snowflake productions we discussed ways on how to bring more activity in the Swiss TYPO3 community so, for example, there will be a project booth at the next OpenExpo in Fall. Then I got to know Robert Lemke and Karsten Dambekalns from the 5.0 development team. Their plans for the next generation of TYPO3 are really impressive: a complete rewrite of the entire CMS is being conducted during the next 2 years creating an underlying framework with top-notch software development practices based on object-oriented patterns and PHP6. And finally for the first I met time Kasper Skårhøj, the initiator of TYPO3. Discussing with him the rewrite of the CMS I think it’s really admirable that he’s deliberately not participating in this enterprise. He believes - although no consciously - he would be hindering the deconstruction of his creation and thus being a obstacle in the redesign of the software. The second issue we talked about was even more intriguing: an integrated incentive system for the code review and extension environment. As many code patches for the CMS are not being included in the main development tree since too few programmers review them, Kaspar is thinking of introducing a sophisticated credit system which motivates the community to invest more time into quality assurance and receiving e.g. free flights to conferences in return. However, being aware of the so called crowding-out effect he has still some doubts if such extrinsic motivations will improve the overall community activity or if it eventually will banish volunteers. Such obviously unresolved issues concerning community management fascinate me a lot and motivate myself investigating them empirically through research on open source software, the topic of my dissertation.
Where Wilhelm Tux Meets Microsoft
Switzerland is so small that even worst enemies find themselves again on a single open source exposition. Theo Schmidt, president of Wilhelm Tux, met Marc Holitscher, chief platform strategist of Microsoft, at the OpenExpo in Bern - both promoting the greatest operating system ever ;)
And they lived happily ever after……