On Wed, Jul 2, 2014 at 2:20 PM, McGovern, James <james.mcgov...@hp.com> wrote:
> I have decided to run for State Representative and often get questions from
> other candidates regarding ways government can be made more efficient. Do
> you think there is merit in technology groups such as Apache holding forums
> to educate elected officials on the value of open source?

I've done a bit of talking to elected officials in various states
about open source and open standards.  There is certainly *a lot* of
misinformation out there and need for education.   In a sense this
"solves itself" in another 20  years, due to generational shifts.  But
in the mean time it is not uncommon to hear a state senator claim that
they cannot use open source because "our documents are confidential
and we can't have them read by just anyone" (!)

Procurement procedures are also an issue in many places.   In some
jurisdictions the government doesn't buy directly from a vendor, but
through a middleman.  The middleman gets a cut from the vendor, so
they have an incentive to work with that vendor's products.   With
open source there is no kickback, since the product is free of charge.
Of course, we all know there are other business models, but they are
not as familiar to government.

Also, the RFQ process essentially shifts the cost of product research
from the government to the vendor.   The government writes up
requirements and asks the vendor to provide detailed responses,
describing how their product meets those requirements.   The vendor
spends days tracking down the details for the government, in hopes of
getting picked.   We sometimes also get such RFQ's sent to Apache
projects.  But, as volunteers, we have no interest or incentive in
spending days responding to such requests.  Again, the middleman is
key here.

As for forums, we could get a lot of bang for the buck if we had a
table at the annual NASCIO conference:


This is the national organization of state CIO's.

Another approach, for something local in CT, is to have university
sponsorship of a workshop.  Yale, for example, has done things related
to open standards and government before.



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