There was a story here on
/. a few days ago about New Hampshire's
big move to open source. I know Wyoming is moving toward it, and Washington, D.C. has adopted an entirely Google-based platform. Other governments may be on their way.
Here in Wisconsin, we've had some movement as well. The city of Kenosha has had an extensive OSS IT platform in place for years. And here in Milwaukee County
, where we have a Windows-centered IT policy, I scored a significant chip at the monolith. In my days since being the guerilla marketer
for LinuxPPC, I won election last year as a Milwaukee County Supervisor. That means I'm one of 19 members in charge of policy for a $1.3 billion body of government. Because I now help craft policy — code, even, for code = law — I couldn't let the all-MS policy continue.
In the 2012 budget, I had an amendement that directs our IT department to do a study of open source software integration. I just got an update on the progress of the study: it turns out that rather than writing a white paper, we're going to have a working production model in place within a few months. It will be built entirely upon open source products (some flavor of Linux, Apache-Tomcat, MySQL, PHP, Alfresco, and so on). So we'll have actual documentation of the cost of production, and cost of maintenance. Beyond that, once it's tested, it will be ready for deployment to replace a set of commercial packages that the County Department of Administration uses. The coding will be done entirely in-house, which is a big win. And the programmers are very excited to do it!
That's only the beginning. Milwaukee County still uses Lotus Notes. (Pause to allow groans and shouts...) It's easy to imagine possibilities to replace Notes. And MS IIS. This is going to make a great story for Slashdot in a few months, and I hope it will make a great story to share with my constituents. The trick there will be to put it in terms that they can understand, as most of them don't have what I presume is our shared background. But, that's part of what they elected me for.
I suppose the story here is "get elected, and make a subtle policy (with profound future impacts) that you can sell by saying it will save money." With any luck, the rest will come like gravy.