Open Source

By Mike Gifford on 12/02/2011
Back in November of 2010 Federal Court Justice Michael Kelen gave the Treasury Board of the Government of Canada (GoC) 15 months to make all of it's websites accessible to the blind.  This is still a landmark case even though the government decided to appeal the case on Jan 10th. I'm not sure how much longer the appeal will extend the case, but the writing is on the wall, the GoC is going to need to begin the long and difficult process of ensuring that it's millions of public web pages are accessible to all Canadians.
It is unclear at this point what will come from the appeal. I would hope...
By Mike Gifford on 14/12/2010
Earlier this year we agreed to sponsor the IdealWare's 2010 report comparing popular open source content management systems, and we're glad to have done so! It is so important to have a review of different systems if only to encourage discussion & debate about software use in the non-profit sector.
Why Drupal 7 is Great
Earlier this week I boasted on the NOSI discussion list about Drupal 7's accessibility enhancements. I know how much more accessible it was than Drupal 6. I have also done some work to compare it with other popular CMS systems.  We've developed a frank accessibility...
By Mike Gifford on 06/10/2010
OpenConcept has once again made a donation of books to Ottawa's Public Library. In 2008 we made a similar, but smaller, donation but since then the selection of resources have grown considerably.
There are now 16 titles in the library's catalog and our donation includes a number of Drupal 7 books which have yet to be distributed.
The growth of interest in Drupal is continuing to grow and we believe that it benefits everyone to make resources widely available. Donating books in the past has brought us staff, but also helps our client base.
The four Lullabot DVD's we provided will be a base for...
By Mike Gifford on 10/09/2010
I was invited by Dennis Lembree and Ross Johnson to contribute some audio for their 84th podcast celebrating the Web Axe 5-year anniversary. They have had a huge impact on the community over that time and really appreciate the work they put into raising awareness about accessibility. Please subscribe to the Web Axe podcast if this content is interesting to you.
The following is the text prepared for the podcast. I want to thank Cliff Tyllick for his help on preparing this:
My name is Mike Gifford and I am the president of OpenConcept Consulting, an Ottawa-based Drupal shop working closely...
By Mike Gifford on 08/04/2010
One of our most popular pages is the Text List of All Countries in the World. Strangely this little piece of data has gotten over 60k hits since we posted it and has received a wide range of very positive reactions from around the world. What started as just something that annoyed me personally (how to get an updated list of all of the World's countries in on easy to copy/paste location) proved to be something that a lot of other people were looking for too.
Now, when I first did this I didn't expect that generating a list of countries was going to be quite so controversial. Apparently, lots...
By Mike Gifford on 23/03/2010
Earlier this year I found out about Ada Lovelace Day (March 24th), and decided that I would pledge along with 1600+ others to blog about women who have contributed to science and technology. Fortunately, I am a Drupal developer, so there are lots of great examples of women taking leadership roles. I'm called to blog about the contributions of Angie Byron, known in the community as webchick.
Now Angie's been a Drupal user for 4 years 41 weeks (six weeks longer than I have), but according to Ohloh (a free public directory of open source software and people), she's put in 2x2 years of CSS &...
By Mike Gifford on 16/03/2010
5 years after writing this blog post, most of the concerns I raised have been addressed.  The URLs are still horrible, but GEDS is in a much more usable state now.
OpenConcept works for several federal government departments and we often need to find contact information for government staff. For those of you who may not know the GEDS is the Government Electronic Directory Services and is the federal government's main public staff directory. It's also been a source of frustration for many so I thought I'd outline some of the things that something like this could do and how it would help...
By Mike Gifford on 28/09/2009
The following article was prepared by OpenConcept for Summit Magazine, Canada's magazine for public service procurement. The full article is available within the PDF copy of the magazine.
After publication I was sent this PDF about open source procurement in the Netherlands that was worth sharing.
How Can Government Responsibly Procure Free Software?
Free software is “free” in two senses: it is distributed free of charge, and can be freely used and shared because it is unencumbered by onerous and restrictive licenses. This software model has been refined over the past twenty-five years, and...
By Mike Gifford on 01/05/2009
This is a reprint of the article originally published in OSBR's May Issue under the title The Feds are Ready for a Change
"OSS is indeed the start of a fundamental change in the software infrastructure marketplace, but it is not a hype bubble that will burst and [the] UK government must take cognizance of that fact." Douglas Alexander
Canada is at the tipping point for acceptance of open source. Open source software (OSS) and culture has reached a critical mass in the business world and it is also being actively deployed within the Canadian government. While open source has contributed...