I want to be a part of this, New York, New York.
New York City Council Member Ben Kallos recently introduced the Free and Open Source Software Act (FOSSA) that, if passed by the City Council, would require the City to look first to open source software before purchasing proprietary software.
Kallos, who represents the Upper East Side and chairs the Council’s government operations committee, also introduced the Civic Commons Act, embracing the notion that government should be sharing technology resources by setting up a portal for agencies and other government entities to collaboratively purchase software.
“Free and open-source software is something that has been used in private sector and in fact by most people in their homes for more than a decade now, if not a generation,” Kallos said in an article on the political Web site Gotham Gazette. “It is time for government to modernize and start appreciating the same cost savings as everyone else.”
If FOSS can make it there, it’ll make it anywhere.
The Web site nextcity.org outlines some of the legislation that’s currently on the New York City Council radar, with some insights from Kallos as well.
Like, “Our government belongs to the people and so should its software.”
European cities like Munich and Barcelona have already shown the benefits of using FOSS in municipal governments. While he was mayor of San Francisco, California’s Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom also got the ball rolling for FOSS in the City by the Bay. There are numerous other examples of how the free/open source paradigm has provided a shift — hugely for the better — in the societies it touches.
These two bills — FOSSA and the Civic Commons Act — hold huge promise not only in the wide range of benefits that FOSS will provide the local government, but it will also show how important to society, generally speaking, FOSS is to the wider world.
Their adoption and implementation in New York — perhaps the world’s greatest city — would signal a quantum leap for those who advocate for the free/open source philosophy and strive for its implementation to create a better world.
So thank you, Councilman Ben Kallos, for going to bat for Free/Open Source Software, and you have my support from 2,967 miles away. Consider done anything I can do from such a distance, if anything.
It’s up to you, New York, New York.
This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy, Larry the CrunchBang Guy, Fosstafarian, Larry the Korora Guy, and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.
(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment.)
Among the strawberries, nectarines, kettle corn and other fresh fruits and vegetables — and since when is kettle corn NOT a fresh vegetable? — the Felton Linux Users Group has set up a table offering Organic Software each Tuesday afternoon at the Felton Farmers Market; Linux, GNU/Linux and other Free/Open Source Software programs and information about FOSS, all with no artificial colors or preservatives, and software that’s healthy for the well-being of your computer.
In the first installment of this endeavor last Tuesday, we introduced Fedora, Ubuntu and OpenSUSE to a number of people who ranged from unenlightened to Linux-curious to the most experienced. We also had on hand the OpenCD from last year’s Software Freedom Day, which has Windows versions of FOSS programs on it.
Something significant occurred during the first tabling event last week: Most everyone curious enough to stop at the table knew what Linux is (one woman, an engineer for Google just over the hill in Mountain View, said that she had better know what it is. “Google . . . interesting name. What do they do?” I asked in mock curiosity). Those who were just curious — “How can software be organic?” — went away with a little more knowledge, at the very least, and some with a live CD to try out at home.
This was done a couple of times in 2008 and in 2009; in 2008 it was a lead-up to Lindependence 2008 that year in July. It seems the seeds sown in Lindependence 2008 are beginning to bear fruit.
Special thanks go to Bob Lewis for the table and for the time he spent; Frank Turner for the excellent signs, the Linux Journals and time he put in at the table; and Karsten Wade, who brought a significant amount of OpenSource.com items to help explain what it is we’re all about.
If you’re in Felton on Tuesday, come over to the Farmers Market at St. John’s Church, which is about a mile south of the light on Highway 9 (which is all the directions you need in Felton).