[Linux-aus] What Open Government can learn from us Open Source folks

Cameron Shorter cameron.shorter at gmail.com
Tue Mar 20 09:20:43 AEDT 2018

Thanks Mark for your feedback,

I'll endevour to work through it (as well as the feedback a number of 
other people have been providing) over the next few days. If you have 
the chance to copy your feedback into the relevant sections of the 
document, that will make it easier for me to address. Otherwise I'll 
insert in where I think it is applicable.

I have actioned (and resolved) most of the comments received so far. 
Outstanding comments are either:

* Recent

* Have some deep concepts behind them which I'm still considering how 
best to address

* Conflicts with other priorities we are trying to achieve with this 
document. There have been ~ 20+ people who have been adding suggestions. 
I'm hoping to achieve "rough consensus" but am aware we can't satisfy 

With regards to the position of Linux Australia, I'm aware the Linux 
Australia Council met last week and was going to discuss supporting this 
proposal, but I haven't heard what was resolved. If someone from the 
council who was at the meeting could reach out to me to let me know how 
you would like to proceed, that would be great.

Cheers, Cameron

On 20/3/18 3:46 am, Mark Phillips wrote:
> Cameron,
> Let me be quiet clear. Neither myself nor OSIA support your open 
> letter to the Open Government forum in it’s current form. Nor did OSIA 
> initiate this open letter. I am rather alarmed that you have not 
> corrected or even addressed Kathy Reids comments^1 <#sdfootnote1sym> 
> in your latest iteration.
> My previous suggestions do not seem to have made it into your latest 
> draft, I intend to reiterate them below as well trying to overcome 
> what I see as a confusing document.
> Overall there seems to be a confusing discussion between open 
> government and open communities. The two are not synonymous. In order 
> to join the Open Government Partnership:
> “countries must commit to uphold the principles of open and 
> transparent government by endorsing the Open Government Declaration”.
> Signing this declaration means the signatories are:
> “committed to the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of 
> Human Rights, the UN Convention against Corruption, and other 
> applicable international instruments related to human rights and good 
> governance:”^2 <#sdfootnote2sym>
> This is not the same as developing open source hardware/software. Nor 
> is it the same as an open community. It is alluding to the openness of 
> government itself. And yes having open communities is one mechanism 
> for deciding this. Technology is one mechanism for implementing this 
> and so is basic education.
> The emphasis in your proposal is to hand over the development of open 
> government to open communities without addressing some of the 
> fundamental issues with open communities.
> As you have mentioned wikipedia in your latest iteration, lets start 
> with wikipedia as an example. The main issue with wikipedia is the 
> continuous editing of controversial pages by opposing groups. This 
> continuous editing extends to the level where organisations edit their 
> pages to highlight their positives traits and to downplay their 
> negative traits. This is handle by wikipedia through locking pages and 
> banning access to repeat offenders.
> You have not highlighted let alone discussed the problems business 
> working with open communities and a possible solution to these 
> problems. (volunteers working at their own pace, feature definition, 
> corporate deadlines, licensing, dispute resolution etc).
> I also don't believe that an open community will help in the sense 
> that you define open communities. I believe that there should be a 
> hybrid of corporate and open source communities such that the better 
> parts of each of the communities is combined to produce a much better 
> working environment, if you insist in open communities working 
> directly with the government.
> In your proposal you make the statement
> “By sharing our knowledge we share the profit from that knowledge; we 
> help reduce income disparity^3 <#sdfootnote3sym>;”
> This is a blanket statement with no references nor proof that shows 
> that this is indeed the case. How does an open community relying on 
> knowledge reduce income disparity. It is not until that knowledge is 
> implemented is there the possibility that income would be generated. 
> Unles you are talking about social income/social income disparity.
> While the tone of the open letter has been toned down since my last 
> review it still contains a number of statements which “tell” the 
> government what to do. Further these statements come with no proof nor 
> references justifying the statements made. It does not discuss or even 
> allude to the issues surrounding open source communities or open 
> source licensing. I believe you miss the point of both Pia’s and 
> United States Assistant Secretary of Defense’s papers. Neither 
> abrogate that the government run open source projects. They discuss 
> how to leverage from open source projects.
> This is why I believe open standards for government interaction and 
> data use combined with multiple external open source communities would 
> achieve a better outcome for Open Source development in Australia. 
> Just look at the number of desktops that exist on Linux. They all work 
> to the same standard, are supported by open source communities and 
> are, to the most part, application inter-operational.
> Defining an open standard and then allowing open communities to evolve 
> around these standards provides multiple solutions in which there may 
> be multiple “best” solutions. At this point Not only could the 
> government support specific open communities but could support 
> multiple open source communities essentially providing the same 
> functionality^4 <#sdfootnote4sym>.
> Overall the proposal still comes across as a idealogical diatribe on 
> “what you must do” and “you should do it this way” rather than a 
> method of how open government may collaborate with open communities.
> As I mentioned in previous emails, OSIA and myself will wait until the 
> Melbourne discussion group meets on the 20 March 2018 before either of 
> us, OSIA and myself, commit to any proposal to the government.
> Also, this discussion are my own opinions and may not reflect the 
> opinions of OSIA.
> Mark Phillips
> 1 <#sdfootnote1anc>15^th March 16:36
> 2 
> <#sdfootnote2anc>https://www.opengovpartnership.org/open-government-declaration,
> 3 
> <#sdfootnote3anc>https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/file_attachments/bp-reward-work-not-wealth-220118-en.pdf
> 4 <#sdfootnote4anc>So while I’m aware of closed systems and data, ie 
> security and defence, that should not be part of open communities, I 
> do not feel this is a discussion for this forum.

Cameron Shorter
Technology Demystifier, Learnosity
Open Technologies Consultant

M +61 (0) 419 142 254

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.linux.org.au/pipermail/linux-aus/attachments/20180320/6f996590/attachment-0001.html>

More information about the linux-aus mailing list