Back in 2007, Russell McOrmond , Phillip Smith and myself decided to set up a service for the Canadian NGO community to make it easier to match individuals with their elected officials. It seems like a pretty basic component of any effective democracy, but it still isn't something that is available to Canadians. At the time, Statistics Canada offered a database of postal codes to riding associations. For $3000 you could buy a database on a CD and have the rights to buy updates every year. The license allowed us to resell access to the database through an API (Application...
We are always looking for ways to become a better business. We have always strived to meet the needs of our clients and staff in a cost effective and environmentally friendly fashion. Last year we started the process of becoming a Certified B Corporation , as it seemed to fit well within the work we've done in the past decade. It was a very interesting process and raised many issues that we hadn't considered previously, which would expand the impact we can have as a business. It is really empowering to be part of a movement that is working to...
Once again we're happy to sponsor Drupal Camp Ottawa . We'll have more posts on this soon. There are a number of sessions we're looking forward to presenting and as always look forward to meeting with others in the Drupal community to work together to strengthen the code that glues us together.
Another year is coming to a close and we are again wishing you all the happiest of holidays at this special time of year. 2013 has been a very exciting year for us, including some amazing projects, new team members and fun DrupalCons and Camps. We are also proud that as of this week we are a Certified B Corporation . Looking forward to another interesting year to come! We wish you and yours all the best in 2014 - The OpenConcept Team
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We started the process of becoming a B Corporation early in 2013 after being exposed to it through HubOttawa in January. Initially it seemed like it would be an interesting way to more officially support the kind of work that we've been doing since we began in 1999. There are plenty of people who see starting a web business as a type of get-rich-quick scheme. I started OpenConcept for a very different reason; I saw that running a small business could be a way I could work to make the world better. I was surprised though when I first took...
It is really, really embarrassing that a kid in elementary school could hack into any government computer system, however a 12 year old boy has pleaded guilty to doing just that in 2012 . I'm not sure how much is known about how he did this, and no doubt he is a very bright and curious child, but this really needs to be a glaring warning about a systemic problem with how governments in Canada manage security. In my dealings with government IT, I find far too often that departments go only so far as to apply a CYA approach...
We've been doing a lot of work recently building a best practice guide on security and wanted to be able to send our clients a simple list of principles that are written in plain language. There is Safety in the Herd: Leverage large, well maintained open source libraries (packages) with a critical mass of users and developers. Use compiled packages and check data integrity of downloaded code. Start with OpenBSD, Debian/Ubuntu or RedHat/CentOS WITHOUT cPanel. Order Matters: Don’t open up services to the Internet before your server is properly secured. Limit Exposure: Only install and maintain what is necessary. Reduce...
There are lots of ways to set up a enterprise server environment for Drupal, but in dealing with IT folks who are coming from other Content Management Systems (CMS) or worse static sites, there is an asumption that for an organization to have control, that they need to have a completely isolated server. Many organizations historically have not had a CMS which had the workflow structure and level of interactivity that Drupal comes with. Historically, the staging server has been used as the final Quality Assurance (QA) environment for new content. It was also used as a barrier between the...
OpenConcept believes in the importance of community & the power of open source. Drupal is a great software product, but the community behind it is bigger and better than the software itself. Open source approaches are really disruptive when they are applied properly because they can disrupt the producer/consumer mindset which has been drilled into our heads over the last 50 years. When we realize that we can contribute something which helps others and by making the community stronger also helps ourselves. Sadly there are a few process in place which really hinder that participation. There are a lot of...
Buckminster Fuller was a real visionary, but he died in 1983 and the backbone of the Internet TCP/IP was only standardized in 1982, so it would be hard to imagine how he would have been able foresee either the World Wide Web, let alone the re-thinking of intellectual property that has come about with the growth of Free Software (or Open Source Software). He definitely thought out of the box as he strove to "make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation." One of his main critiques of our economic system was...