Free OpenSource Software in Government

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Posted on August 12th, 2009


ctThe FOSS Vendor Day took place on the 22 May 2009 at the SITA Auditorium and was considered an overwhelming success by all those who attended. The day took the format of a triangular workshop in which SITA vendors and stakeholders gathered together to meet and share experiences, ideas and contacts. More than five internationally recognized corporations presented thought provoking and educational sessions.

The aim of the workshop was to provide vendors with an opportunity to reach out to SITA’s stakeholders. The workshop also educated vendors about the Open Source solutions available for implementation of FOSS in government. The workshop created a platform for the exchange of information between SITA and its clients. Stakeholders were given the opportunity to query the vendors about their product design, its operation and application and vendors in turn were allowed the space to educate delegates through the provision of useful information. Discussions held at the workshop were centered around solutions available for the successful implementation of FOSS, implementation of ODF and the importance of Open Source in the South African government.

Dillon Gray of GijimaAST presented their current Open Source strategy and the Open Source migration methodology which they have drafted for government FOSS migration.

Present at the workshop was an international speaker Michael Bohn, a Senior Consultant in the Office Migration Department of Sun Microsystems. Bohn presented and demonstrated a solution for government’s implementation of Open Source. The presentation made use of the German case studies on OSS migration and ODF implementation as a benchmark.

Andrew Hartely, a Senior Technical Staff Member at the IBM Sub-Saharan Africa Solutions Lab, used the platform to outline different approaches and methodologies for the adoption of Open Source in government. His presentation shed light on the Open Source Ecosystem, customer benefits and challenges of Open Source and ways to integrate Open Source into business.

South African based organizations represented at the event included I-Knowledge, Business Connexion, and Datacentrix. I-KNOWLEDGE and Datacentrix jointly presented Alfresco, the Electronic Content Management system which has been tested in a number of South African government departments.

Ross Addis, a technical consultant from Siemens presented the Siemens approach to the implementation of FOSS in government. Their focus is to enhance Open Source skills and to partner up with SMMEs in their skills development projects.

The lessons learnt during this event will be shared with government and filtered into the identified IT sections.

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