Open apps for governments ..

Next week, I am attending the Digital Agenda Assembly in Brussels

This year, the DAA has a vibrant social presence including a platform for the Digital Agenda Assembly (also you can follow the discussion on twitter under the #DAA12 hashtag

The platform allows you to network with others and to track policy issues of relevance at DAA.

One of the most interesting ideas I have seen at the DAA (on the platform) is from the Basque governement

The Basque govt CIO Serafin Olcaz posted on the DAA forum plans to publish or release  Open Applications (Open Apps) into Public Domain  following Open Data mechanisms.

This idea of the Basque govt sharing software has been covered before in the EU and also on the FSF blog - common sense in the Basque country

Why is it interesting?

1) Currently, there is a dichotomy when it comes to governments and software i.e. the options of open source v.s. non open source software. This discussion is generally from the standpoint of the providers but not the governments. However, this idea option offers a third alternative. My personal view is govts should not mandate one way or the other .. but this is an interesting third alternative ie govts creating apps (for the lack of a better word) and releasing them as open source for reuse by OTHER governments.

2)   Think of it like a modular ERP by governments and for governments (not the best analogy but it will suffice for this) where governments release apps for reuse by other governments. The word ‘apps’ is also not the most appropriate – but it conveys the meaning

3)  The idea of releasing open data and open source together is also good. Many governments release open data for the wrong reasons – ie they hope that by releasing open data – developers will create free applications for them. This idea is flawed because good developers have better things to do which make them more money (like iphone apps). So, the idea of releasing software and data under a single open source licence has merit especially when reused by other governments.

The recession is an opportunity exactly for this kind of collaborative innovation

I shall watch this space with interest! This will not happen immediately but could happen over the span of the next few years.

Update: A blog about this (in spanish but auto-english translation below) - Open Apps in the Assembly of the European Digital Agenda 2012

Earlier this year was held in Granada, the Open Source World Conference ( OSWC 2,012 ) and she had the opportunity to present the three main pillars or ways to improve efficiency in the information technology developments that are made ​​for the administration of the Basque Government :

  1. Reuse of components,
  2. release of source code and
  3. efficient management of assets;

As we review later in this blog Public Innovation Plan ( PIP) . Something that is not surprising since the thirteenth strategic line of PIP addresses the Technological Innovation and one of its major projects is about the Open Standards Promotion and particularly the release of applications. It is within this framework that fits the draft decree is pending in the Basque Government for the opening or making available to the public and the reuse of public sector applications of the Autonomous Community of Euskadi a reality.

To complement this initiative developed the concept of Open Apps: Open Source released as Open Data, whose first steps also introduce a first in the blog Public Innovation Plan ( PIP ) , before taking them to the Sectoral Commission on Electronic Administration on 22 May, where this approach and the draft decree were very well received both by the Autonomous Communities and by the Ministry of Finance and Public Administration. So much so that it has begun internal processing to be part of a Royal Decree from the Basque Government project, which will greatly facilitate the adoption of the proposed measures for opening and re-use of computer applications in public sector whole kingdom of Spain.

Finally, we should add that these days we are discussing openly in the forum of the Assembly of the European Digital Agenda , whose face meetings will be held in Brussels on 21 and 22 next June, how to articulate the publication of Open Apps using the mechanisms been used for Open Data, taking advantage of the widespread interest in that they harmonize or standardize. The potential impact of this small step is better perceived if we consider that the conclusions of that forum will contribute to the revision of the European Digital Agenda planned for October 2012. Perhaps, if we continue in this direction, openness and reuse of software applications in the public sector we are now promoting the Basque Country and Spain ends generalized in Europe someday.