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United States Software

Oregon Government Supporting Open Source 124

amountlad writes "In a pair of articles released today on, Oregon continues to lead the way in government open source adoption in the USA. The Oregon State University's Open Source Lab will host a Government Open Source Conference in October. The GOSCON has strong support from within the state government. The State's Department of Administrative Services released a white paper detailing their use of Asterisk for audio conferencing for more than 500 conferences a week. The set-up includes a web-based interface for judges to manage recording the hearings. In doing so the State joins Metro, a Portland area regional government which uses Asterisk along side its Beowulf Cluster."
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Oregon Government Supporting Open Source

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  • I wonder... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Black Parrot ( 19622 )

    ...whether proximity to the state of Washington has anything to do with it.

    • Re:I wonder... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by poopdeville ( 841677 )
      No. As far as I can see, OSU's program is just run by enthusiastic faculty. The state government is interested because of constant budget shortfalls.
    • Re:I wonder... (Score:5, Informative)

      by genericacct ( 692294 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @06:29PM (#13343319)
      Nope. Intel has a central campus in Oregon, and is home to other major tech companies like Tektronix and Flir. Don't forget OSDL's main HQ is in Oregon. The west coast in general is technology-dense.
      • Epson, Nike, etc are there too...

        Its mainly due to budget issues and the community that wrote congress and requested that they look into OSS. Oregon is, unfortunately, heading the way of California.
    • Re:I wonder... (Score:3, Informative)

      by jlapier ( 739283 )
      As an employee of the state (Oregon Univerity System) I'm guessing it has more to do with budgetary concerns....
      • Re:I wonder... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jdray ( 645332 )
        I suspect it's our general culture (at least here in the Valley) of being kind of leftist. Look at our political history of passing laws for public health care (The Oregon Plan), doctor assisted suicide (which the feds, I believe, overruled), and other related "freedom to do whatever" type things. The desert dwellers (Eastern Oregon) don't usually agree with us, but there aren't enough of them to overrule us on most things. When you have something that's so obviously a cost saver, they don't even bother
      • Re:I wonder... (Score:4, Informative)

        by GrigorPDX ( 513102 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @07:17PM (#13343588)
        I'm one of the DAS staff who helped develop this system. While cost was certainly a factor - off-the-shelf commercial alternatives were exorbitantly expensive - we also chose the Asterisk-based architecture for its flexibility and the ease by which we could modify it to suit our needs. While we're only using a minuscule fraction of what Asterisk can do, it is constantly being modified, expanded and enhanced. Check back with us this time next year and I bet we'll have tons more to show off. :-)
    • No.

      I know. I'm from Oregon. Oregon is just a liberal place. And, yes, admit it, Open Source/Free Software is very liberal.

      There's a lot of Open Source activity here in Oregon, anyway, without the government. For example... what's that guy from Finland? You know, the guy who founded some big Open Source project? Whatever his name is, he lives here.

      Then again... Washington and Oregon are both on the west coast (and blue states). So if you mean, by proximity, "on the west coast", you're right.

      • Re:I wonder... (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I know. I'm from Oregon. Oregon is just a liberal place. And, yes, admit it, Open Source/Free Software is very liberal.

        I'm from Oregon as well, and I don't think just calling it "liberal" is quite correct. There are Oregonians supporting various types of ideals; the main thing they have in common is the fervor with which they support them. So you'll see strong liberals, but you'll also see one of the larger libertarian contingents in the US. (Also note that while Oregon was just barely blue, Portland was

  • by Sheetrock ( 152993 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @06:19PM (#13343252) Homepage Journal
    Before the advent of the automated recording and transfer process the OAH Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) conducted hearings using their PBX built-in conference features and recording using a desktop phone recording system. While functional, the system was not able to grow to match the OAH's needs. By utilizing a combination of existing conference bridge infrastructure and open source software, DVS was able to provide a feature-rich centralized solution for minimal expense.

    One of the great things about open source is that it offers a way for business and non-business organizations and individuals to leverage the power of existing equipment for very little additional expense (to wit, additional peripherals or upgrades necessary to run the software) rather than investing the money into a solution they're just going to have to throw away shortly down the road.

    With the increasing price of oil, I can't help wondering what the face of computing is going to look like five or ten years down the line. The average computer uses as much as seventeen swimming pools worth of coal to run on any given day. Much of this is spent on wasteful peripherals we could do without, such as fancy 3D graphics cards or optical mice, but even more is being spent on processing power well beyond the needs of the average user.

    Inefficiencies in microcomponent fabrication mean that a great deal of the electricity that goes into your computer is given off as heat. Techniques such as reversible or quantum computing hold much promise in the future for putting more energy into computation but today it is up to the consumer to safeguard the environment.

    In a way, the argument is the same as with vehicles -- most people don't need a SUV or a top-of-the-line system but many choose to get them to compensate for inadequacies or because of marketing -- but with computers at least it is impossible to argue you are "safer" for having a faster system. Indeed, you are more likely to run viruses or worms without realizing it because you don't notice the hit in operating performance.

    I've noticed that, between the advances in open source and the levelling off of true innovation in hardware design, I've been holding on to computer equipment longer and longer these days. Oh sure, I have to fix a power supply here and a fan there, but besides slack engineering standards from software companies there is little reason to keep up with the hardware treadmill... and at least one compelling reason not to.

  • Woo Hoo! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Le Marteau ( 206396 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @06:20PM (#13343256) Journal
    Oregon! Yeah!

    Next up: Iowa! Yes!
  • by GecKo213 ( 890491 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @06:21PM (#13343264) Homepage
    I happen to know that Microsoft has a rather large contract with the State Govt. Offices most if not all of my state's Office computers. A few years back I used to work for a Tech company that had a contract to service the computers for the state. They were all running WIN 2K and 98. If one state starts to move to Open Source soon more should follow. Decreasing MSFT's domination in the maket. Nice thing though, both systems should still need to be services on occasion so there's always going to be tech support work. :)
    • I have to wonder how long this project will last, before microsoft swoops in with lawyers and salespeople and demands it be dismantled.

      The usual threats would be "ohsnoes who will guarantee it against IP lawsuits" (just don't read the microsoft eula kthx) and "what about terrorists omgwtfbbq".

      I don't see this project lasting long, its mere existence is an affront to everything microsoft stands for.
    • Heh just thought of a good way for microsoft to sabotage this project.

      "shut it down and replace it with 100% microsoft products... or else we will audit your microsoft licenses."

      unless you're 0% microsoft already, almost everyone will capitulate.
  • by murch ( 885018 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @06:24PM (#13343287)
    Unfortunately, not all government agencies in Oregon are following along. I work for the Oregon Judicial Department, and there's not a drop of open source in use that I know of. It's pretty much all Microsoft, Lotus, and Corel.

    What's even worse is that there's a lot of alternatives in use between counties. For audio recordings in the court, most counties use either FTR or CourtSmart. My court uses Office products, even though the "official" standard is the Corel suite. It makes it difficult at times when working with other counties.

    I think it'd be great if we went with Linux and Open Office, but that'll never happen.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      You'd be surprised.

      Drop by your datacenter and see what your techs are using.
      (Well, walk up carefully and quietly or they'll scurry away before you get too close...)

      At our Agency (in the State or Oregon), we use open source mostly for web services and security tools.

      We have alot of Apache around. Mostly set up and working before we casually mention to management that it is open source.

      Although, being a Novell shop, it's much easier now that we can say we are ordering another fully supported Novell server.

      • Yeah, I AM one of the techs. I'm a TSS 4. So as far as what I'm personally responsible for, there's no open source. Microsoft, CourtSmart, Laserfiche, IBM, Lotus, McAfee... the list goes on and on. But if some of the techs in Salem get to play around with open source, good for them. I kind of envy their ability to experiment. There's only so much I can do locally while still sticking with what Salem says to use.
    • Supporting doesn't mean using. I'm sure Ted Kulongoski still will use a Dell running Windows XP and Office. Honestly, hardly anybody uses Linux on desktop. Linux is mostly only used in servers, and that's where the Oregon government is going to use it. (I'm an Oregonian, by the way.)
    • I disagree (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geekoid ( 135745 )
      As cost to run a Government go up, and people refuse to pay more taxes, alternate cheaper ways will hbave to happen.
      My advice, on your time, think about what Open sourse products could replace the ones you have. Then set up a test enviroment in your home.
      Once you confirm, to the best you can, that it does work write a paper then sit on it. The very next time someone in managment complains abouit cost, tell them:
      "I can write you up a document on products that do they same work, but for less money."
      Then tune
  • by Marxist Hacker 42 ( 638312 ) * <> on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @06:26PM (#13343303) Homepage Journal
    Due to the trolls above- but if you're having problems viewing the Coral'd links above, try going directly to []
  • It turns out that some proxy servers are challenged by the Coralized [] links in the story. For the direct scoop on GOSCON, go to GOSCON's Website []
  • Open Source (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CSHARP123 ( 904951 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @06:33PM (#13343342)
    What You Will Gain from Attending: Hear from and meet Industry Experts on the forefront of the industry Gain a clearer understanding of what Open Source is Hear about how Open Source is used today at the state and local government level Gain exposure to case studies in summary of systems and applications in government Learn about Intellectual Property and other Legal Issues Listen to a panel of experts provide diverse perspective on public policy Participate in interactive sessions with their peer organizations Network with their peers

    Looking at the list, I was thinking, education is first step. Not many managers know about linux (even if they knew, they may be sacred of using some unknown OS). These kind of seminars should help them. Instead of charging money for these, why not linux vendors(like RedHat, Novell and others) offer these things for free.

  • by Sir_Eptishous ( 873977 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @06:53PM (#13343442) Homepage
    Why do people post such retarded comments about how bad Linux is and how joe six pack can't use it? Joe six pack can't even use Windows...
    • It's an organized effort by Microsoft, MS employees, Consultants and other vendors who sell MS products to spread FUD about open source here on slashdot.

      Don't take it too hard though, you should see the kinds of things they say over at gotdotnet. Over here they try the old "I really like linux but it's not ready for your grandma" or "I am not a Microsoft fan but XP never crashes" approaches which are designed to be less confrontational.

      Inevitably they will all call you a zealot if you disagree with them th
      • Well, I certainly dont think its a concerted organised effort by any length, its simply the same sort of people who praise linux for the slightest achievement and put down Microsoft products at every turn. Every 'movement' has its own independant followers, and a lot of them take it to the extreme.

        Im not affiliated with Microsoft, Im not a consultant for Microsoft or its products, Im not a vendor of any software at all. Im an inhouse Unix and Windows developer for a car fleet management company in the
        • Dude, I realize that as a good person you wish to believe that everyone else is good, too. But here were have a case history to go from.

          MS Team99 [] is re-forming. This time it is focusing on blogs. With a little effort you can find out what it was doing before. A few weeks before and after the announcement, there were basically no pro-MS / anti-OSS rants. Coincidence. Sure! I believe that. Really.

          Although MS has been more careful not to get caught (or squelch news of getting caught) there have

        • "I dont care if you dont believe me, I just wanted to reply to your 'anyone with anything positive to say about Windows and negative to say about Linux is a shill' post. You do realise that your post pushes the exact same view you are ranting about, but pro Linux instead of pro Microsoft?"

          I am glad you don't care because I don't believe you. I find it hard to believe that any person who is normal and sane would go around praising corporations or products without getting paid for it. I like my washing machin
          • SO you are telling me that you have *never* *ever* said to a friend 'I liked that movie' or 'These shoes are really comfortable'? That isnt advertising, that isnt being a shill, thats being satisfied with a product and thats exactly what my comments in my post mean.

            People defend corporations not because they are shills but because their experiences with that corporations products have been positive, and contrary to your belief, not everyone is in it for the money which is why recommendations happen. I
            • "SO you are telling me that you have *never* *ever* said to a friend 'I liked that movie' or 'These shoes are really comfortable'?"

              Of course I have. But if my friend said "I didn't like that movie" or "Those shoes aren't comfortable" I would not call them a zealot, communist and then go on a tirade about how great the movie was. DO you see the difference?

              "People defend corporations not because they are shills but because their experiences with that corporations products have been positive, and contrary to y
  • by Valiss ( 463641 )
    ...if we had a Beowulf Cluster of states doing this!
  • Hey, didn't they steal the GOSCON idea from those Ruby guys who helf FOSCON a few weeks back... oh, wait...
  • Not even close (Score:5, Informative)

    by cratermoon ( 765155 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @07:08PM (#13343539) Homepage
    How quickly we forget [], Oregon schools tried to go open source and got the smackdown by Microsoft's lobbyists. No, this state government is NOT in the lead on the use of open source.
    • Re:Not even close (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Actually, as someone who was closely involved in the school system in Oregon at that time, what happened was the schools started to use OpenOffice instead of MS Office, and to retaliate, Microsoft threatened to sue for EULA infringment (not all copies of Windows in use were legal, at least in my district), since an investigation would have been disastrous at that time (due to the illegal copies). As a result, the school system spent all the money they had saved by using OpenOffice on making their systems 10
    • Re:Not even close (Score:2, Informative)

      by GrigorPDX ( 513102 )
      Lead or no lead (I'm not going to argue that point either way) there are a lot of penguins and *BSD devils quietly humming away in government server rooms throughout the state right next to their Sun, Microsoft, and Novell counterparts.

      Just because Microsoft chooses to "smackdown" (to use your term) doesn't mean that many of us within state government won't be recommending the use of OSS when and where it's technically appropriate and cost-effective. Does this mean OSS will always be used? Of course not.
      • As a consultant on a DHS project in Salem (I'm a resident of Portland and commute), I can also say that open source is definitely used where it makes sense. But it's never easy to get in the door, and the official line is that OSS is not permitted.

        I have yet to see a penguin or a devil doing any of the work in anything associated with this work, though.
    • Re:Not even close (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Since I work for one of those schools you mentioned... I can confirm that 90 percent of our infrastructure now runs on opensource. In addition we have a steady rollout of Openoffice and Linux is being used in many locations as a desktop os.
    • I find the idea rather remarkable for Oregon, a state where the residents aren't even deemed competent to pump their own gasoline.
  • They can handle this with a short shot commuter flight. I know those Red-Eye flights to Brazil and Asia had to be playing hob with their systems.
  • Finally! I was beginning to worry that our proximity to Mordor^H^H^H^H^H^H Redmond was going to completely screw over any chances of Open Source spreading around here. I mean, I knew about OSU's heavy support and involvement in OSS, but that's completely different from getting the government to back it. Actually, one of the local school districts has a policy banning the use of Linux in any way at school. Not well enforced, thank God, but it has been enforced in the past.

    Maybe this will also lead to lo
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I re-posted the CD we created for the Oregon House and Senate as a reminder of why Government use of Open Source Software is so important: []
    • lol-- my mother's a professor at OSU (not cs) who occasionally gets tasked with putting some or all of a course online via Blackboard. Of course, I've been brought in a couple times to help, and have come to the same conclusion she has-- it's a piece of crap, both hard to use and minimally functional.

      I've never had any experience with Moodle. Is it worthwhile? Easy to use for fuzzy academs? I'm sure she'd like an alternative, and as the OSU cs dept is in no short supply of undergrads who live to set up
      • we're using at a couple campuses in the Cal State System, San Francisco and Humboldt. Solid, stable, easy to install runs on a range of systems from shared hosts to dedicated clusters, pretty easy to use, more features than BBBlackboard, SSL ready and LDAP built in (they actually charge extra for SSL 'support' in Blackboard Basic!).

        Great user community too [], helpful, inventive, worldwide.

        And it has more cowbell than any of it's competitors.
  • In case you blathering folk didn't know, Oregon State University is home to one of the largest open source initiatives anywhere. Just go to [] . They host mirrors for lots of linux distributions (gentoo ebuild source, open source projects, and other stuff). It was only a matter of time that the government clued in on how it could save money by studying the guys at OSUOSL.
    • Many of us inside Oregon government have been "clued in" to OSS and have been quietly working with it for years. Just because it doesn't make news doesn't mean it's not happening.

      Staying under the radar is often the an effective way of sidestepping the politics (FUD) and getting the job done. Show non-technical executive management a feature-rich, technically-sound and cost effective system with a nice low TCO and they're a lot less likely to care whether it's built upon open source software, commercial/p
  • Isn't the beaver a noble and beautiful animal?
  • Because we aren't leading the way in the following areas:

    On the other hand, we do have some leaders in new market innovations [] (hint: look at the first entry under "Alternatives").

  • ...along side its Beowulf Cluster.

    Boy, imagine a Beowulf cluster of...those, damn.
  • Oregon, isn't that some kind of biscuit you have in the states?

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