[RndTbl] Government of Canada getting into OpenSource and collaborative development

John Lange john.lange at open-it.ca
Tue Dec 7 12:39:30 CST 2004

When I read this posting on canopener.ca mailing list I almost fell

In brief; there is a coordinated effort between the biggest parts of the
Canadian government (Treasury board, Public works, and others) to setup
a "Source Forge" like repository for software "of interest to" the
Government of Canada.

Apparently the government already has some OpenSource projects on
SourceForge and the need for a more "trusted" distribution method was at
least partly responsible for them starting this project.

No official announcements have been made yet and none are expected until
some time in late 2005. Read the rest of the posting for more details.

-----Forwarded Message-----
> From: Joseph Potvin <Joseph.Potvin at pwgsc.gc.ca>
> To: discuss at canopener.ca, mit at mitayai.org
> Cc: tadelste at charter.net
> Subject: [discuss] Re: Canadian Mirror for FreeBSD etc. [Was: "Grants"]
> Date: Tue, 07 Dec 2004 12:12:45 -0500
> Hi Dru, Mit, et.al.  I've re'titled the subject line for this thread, since it's the mirroring service you're after. I have an answer for you that you might be happy to hear, with the caveat that "were not up and running quite yet". 
> Please don't interpret the following as a formal announcement since we're still in the planning stages, but I am happy to share information about, and request some open feedback on, an initiative that we're working towards to help operationalize Canadian Government Official Open Source Engagement (Canada GOOSE). This spans across acquisition, use, production and distribution.  
> First, the policy context: In April 2004 the CIO Branch of Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) requested that PWGSC "develop, manage and operate a GoC software pooling and distribution service". http://www.cio-dpi.gc.ca/fap-paf/oss-ll/oss-ll/page17_e.asp  The Policy on Alternative Service Delivery (ASD) http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/asd-dmps/soa_e.asp#pa encourages partnerships and collaborative arrangements that bring together organizations from across government, between levels of government, or across sectors through partnerships and collaborative arrangements (e.g., single windows, co-locations, or clustering of services) where such arrangements can result in innovative, cost-effective and efficient ways to deliver government programs and services.
> With those as a foundation, Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) is currently working with TBS and several other departments and agencies in planning a Canadian Government "shared service" similar to www.sourceforge.net, www.tigris.org or www.gnu.savannah.org. Our's is (tentatively) called the "Collaborative Software Engineering (CoSE) Worksite". We're currently piloting internally with www.gforge.org) Once CoSE Worksite is in operation, it certainly could, among other things, serve as a mirror for FreeBSD and other open source solutions produced external to the Government of Canada, in which GoC has an interest. The versions we would host might be somewhat behind the latest available, as we are thinking to run a set of reviews. I say that with some hesitation, because an efficient process needs to be defined, or our reviews will be nothing but a bottleneck. Maybe certain structured communities themselves could be certified, such as FreeBSD, which has an excellent review reputation already. Again, suggestions for establishing a "highly trusted mirror service" are welcome. Generally we think GoC needs this to provide civil servants a trusted location from which to download any software (under any license type).
> Our service more broadly would include:
> 1. Development, Maintenance & Repair Management Support Systems
> -  Structured, collaborative version and configuration management;
> -  Structured, collaborative issues and options management;
> -  Structured code, architecture, intellectual asset management;
> -  Documentation management of technical architecture and developer/user training content (integrated with RDIMS); and,
> -  Unified security & access management for all project participants, inside and outside GoC.
> 2. Project Team Management and Reporting Systems
> -  Collaborative project management;
> -  Teamware for communication and coordination;
> -  Structured information for reporting & auditing (financial, management, intellectual, security, quality);
> -  Referrals to subject matter experts, communities of practice, and service brokers.
> CoSE Worksite would be available at no charge to individual software project teams working on solutions "of interest to" the Government of Canada. This language is specifically intended to mean it is not restricted to software projects initiated and managed by Canadian Government departments and agencies. Certainly, GoC software development projects would be hosted here. But other communities may also use the CoSE Worksite for any software project that meets the CoSE Project Acceptance Criteria (still being composed). In some cases, software projects that meet the criteria may already be well supported on other repositories, and the CoSE Worksite may host a referral page.  We hope to avoid the limitations that the Government Open Code Collaborative is criticized for: http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/7932 (i.e. "a Cathedral trying to say it's a Bazaar"). Hopefully ours is more like "Public" Works through Government Services Canada, in which "works" are understood as "works of joint authorship" and "collective works" as defined in the Copyright Act http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/c-42/text.html.
> For those of you who might be suspicious of the claim of a free service, please let me explain how we are trying to position the CoSE Worksite Initiative to meet the usual Treasury Board financial management requirement of full cost recovery. We're not sure if we'll be able to do things this way yet. The main idea is that we are arranging to sell the valuable "results" or "outcomes" of greater software collaboration and re-use to a few major stakeholder clients, those organizations that use it the most, and will want a place on the CoSE Steering Committee.  That's to say, CoSE "services" are not the "results". The marketable value of the strategic results that are for sale under contract to the major stakeholders, will be increased, the more the online collaborative engineering facility is used. Therefore the basic CoSE Worksite web service is  being positioned as a "pure public good". Like sourceforce, tigris and gnu.savannah, all the core services will be available for free. 
> What's the status?  The plan was discussed yesterday at the Open Source Sub-Committee of the Interdepartmental CIO Council chaired by TBS, and also a week earlier with CIO Branch within TBS. It's getting a great reception, and there are several detailed business design matters to work out as we move forward. We plan to start simply. Our team at PWGSC is currently running www.gforge.org internally for one of our open source applications called ArchNAV (as a result we haven't been updating that app at its http://sourceforge.net/projects/archnav/ location as often). We hope to have our pilot publicly-usable CoSE Worksite server running by February or March, if the main business considerations are worked out. Then, through to next autumn, we plan to learn our way forward. We should be able to advance from "pilot" to "official" by the end of 2005, running on an environment selected via a competition, which may or may not be gforge. 
> All that to say: It would be great to host FreeBSD early during our pilot stage, so you'll be hearing back from me as soon as we can do something about it. 
> Questions or suggestions about the CoSE Worksite Initiative are welcome. 
> Joseph (José) Potvin
> Management Team Member, Enterprise Architecture, Standards and Security Unit
> Standards, Engineering and Project Management Sector
> Information Technology Services Branch (ITSB)
> Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC)
> Government of Canada
> 11 Rue Laurier, Place du Portage, Phase III, 4th Floor (4A1)
> Gatineau (Hull), Quebec K1A 0S5
> (819) 956-8617 Voice
> (819) 956-8621 Fax
> joseph.potvin at pwgsc.gc.ca
> ----------------------------------------
> Date: Sun, 5 Dec 2004 21:29:20 -0500 (EST)
> From: Dru <dlavigne6 at sympatico.ca>
> Subject: [discuss] Grants (fwd)
> To: discuss at canopener.ca
> Message-ID: <20041205212822.F586 at dru.domain.org>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
> Anyone have any suggestions for this fellow?
> Dru
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Sun, 05 Dec 2004 21:12:44 -0500
> From: Mit Rowe <mit at mitayai.org>
> To: advocacy at freebsd.org
> Subject: Grants
> Hi, folks!
> I'm Mit, and i've been your ca.FreeBSD.Org hostmaster for many years. I'm 
> pretty quiet on a international scale, but i've been active as a local 
> advocate for the FreeBSD community in every community i have involvement in 
> since a copy of FreeBSD 2.0 landed on my desk in early '95.
> I have also considered it my duty to encourage FreeBSD mirrors in Canada, but I 
> have been constantly frustrated by my ability to have corporations provide 
> long-term resources to the FreeBSD Project in terms of WWW, FTP, and CVSUp 
> mirrors of the FreeBSD releases, source, and documentation.
> This frustration has led me to think of turning to the government of Canada, 
> starting from the Communications Research Centre (an agency of Industry Canada) 
> and working my way up, looking for either them to host the FreeBSD mirror or 
> provide a grant to someone to do so.
> However, before i speak for the FreeBSD Project, i believe that i am 
> honour-bound to request feed back on my intent and method; therefore, i ask 
> your feedback, comments and advice on the following letter i think i should 
> send first to info at crc.ca and see what kind of feedback i receive from them 
> (which i would report back).
> Also, perhaps any lurking Canadians out there could hold up their hands? I 
> sometimes feel pretty lonely out here in this corner of the world :-)
> Regards,
> Mit
> Here's the text of the letter in English (i'm also going to write it in French, 
> our other language of government in Canada, in case any of the potential 
> readers are francophone). Please comment as soon as possible.
> =====
> My name is William Rowe, commonly known as Mit Rowe, and i am a Canadian member 
> of the FreeBSD community and serve in the capacity of Hostmaster for the 
> FreeBSD Subdomain.
> FreeBSD is, as the website http://www.freebsd.org/ describes,
> "...an advanced operating system for x86 compatible (including Pentium and 
> Athlon), amd64 compatible (including Opteron, Athlon 64, and EM64T), Alpha/AXP, 
> IA-64, PC-98 and UltraSPARC® architectures. It is derived from BSD, the 
> version of UNIX® developed at the University of California, Berkeley. It is 
> developed and maintained by a large team of individuals 
> <http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/articles/contributors/index.html>. 
> Additional platforms <http://www.freebsd.org/platforms/index.html> are in 
> various stages of development." It is a freely available, opensource operating 
> system with no restrictions on commercial use. More information of the licenses 
> can be found at http://www.freebsd.org/copyright/freebsd-license.html. The core 
> documentation of FreeBSD is available in both national languages, as are large 
> chunks of ancillary documentation.
> I have worked in the ISP and IT industries for over a decade, and am well aware 
> of the prevalent use of FreeBSD in Canada, in both the private and public 
> sectors in corporations large and small, Internet Service Providers and 
> non-profit, charitable, governmental and educational institutions.
> The level of interest and use warrants the existence of resources to install, 
> configure, maintain, upgrade and support the operating system, which can be 
> done through the allocation of resources for mirroring the FreeBSD source and 
> documentation in order to make more efficient use of global Internet resources.
> The use of public funds to support a free platform which runs much of the 
> infrastructure of our nation is both a way of supporting the existing 
> infrastructure and making it easier for Canadians to support and further 
> develop this technology, and will also serve to help increase and support our 
> international reputation as a center for Technology and Communications, and the 
> pride that we IT professionals feel in for the country which we are honoured to 
> be able to call our home.
> With respect,
> Will Mitayai Keeso Rowe
> Toronto, ON
> mitayai at ca.freebsd.org
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John Lange
OpenIT ltd.
(204) 885 0872

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