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.)
Apologies in advance for this item being specific to the Golden State:
For those of you who may have missed this several years ago, I ran for statewide office in California. I was the Green Party’s candidate for Insurance Commissioner in 2006 (270,218 votes, 3.2 percent — “What do we have for our departing contestant, Johnny Olsen?”). During that campaign, I picked up the Free/Open Source Software I used for the campaign, as well as the FOSS paradigm which leads me today to be the FOSS advocate that now addresses you as Larry the Free Software Guy.
So in a nutshell, I gave up partisan politics after that campaign to become the FOSS advocate whose blog you now read. While I have often mentioned to folks — both personally and in correspondence — that I am through with partisan politics in order to promote FOSS, I’m going to change my tune a little this election cycle.
This year in California, we have a monumentally great opportunity to put a good friend of FOSS in the lieutenant govenor’s office in November (and for Democrats, actually getting him on the ballot during the primary in June).
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who fostered an open source software policy in San Francisco earlier this year, looks like he’s heading to become the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor this year.
As you all know, my voter registration does not affiliate itself with either major political party, and my contempt for many Democrats (see Blue Dogs) is legendary. But Newsom comes to the ballot for lieutenant governor with some serious credentials: As mayor of the world’s greatest city (and it is), he has shown adimrable leadership around environmental and human rights issues, to name two, coupled with guiding The City through some perilous financial straits.
Plus, he’s a friend of FOSS, who can bring the open source to the halls of Sacramento. What more could FOSS advocates want?
In addition, the likely Republican candidate — appointed (not incumbent, arguably) Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado — could be second only to Sarah Palin in being the least qualifed person to hold any elected office, let alone one where he’s a heartbeat away from being in charge of California. You’ll not want to get me started on my former state senator. Trust me.
In any case, if you’re a Democrat, you can vote for Newsom in the primary June 8. Come November, the choice in this race is pretty clear and with Newsom as the candidate for lieutenant governor, I’ll be voting Democrat for state office for the first time in a long time.