Open Source

By Mike Gifford on 08/04/2009
Quick update, OpenOffice now ships with macro security set for 'High' so that "Only signed macros from trusted sources are allowed to run. Unsigned macros are disabled". By going to Tools -> Options -> -> Security -> Macro Security You can also set the security level to 'Very High' so that "Only Macros from trusted file locations are allowed to run. All other macros, regardless whether signed or not, are disabled." So if you are concerned with these articles, use OpenOffice.
Listening to CBC's Search Engine Podcast (which was removed by CBC sadly) I was reminded...
By Mike Gifford on 04/04/2009
I was fortunate to be invited to participate in a panel discussion organized by Andrew Ross of Ingress. The panel from left to right Roger Burkhardt (Ingres), Jean Bernatchez (Enterprise Stewardship and Internal Services Strategies, Chief Information Officer Branch, Treasury Board of Canada), Dave McIlhagga (DM Solutions), me & Donald Smith (Eclipse):
Business value of open source panel discussion from Andrew Ross on Vimeo.
I had a hard time focusing on what I was going to say to some of the questions that were presented to the panel, because of the responses from the other panelists...
By Mike Gifford on 05/03/2009
One of the things is common in technology conferences these days is side gatherings that are informally called to discuss certain issues.  They are generally referred to as Birds of a Feather Gathering.  Today I participated in two sessions (discussing nonprofits & CiviCRM) and initiated two (focusing on governments & unions).  All were quite interesting and a good opportunity to talk with people passionate about a sector they are involved in.
In both sessions there were nearly 15 people involved.  Considering the multiple presentations and discussion sessions that were available at...
By Mike Gifford on 03/03/2009
I think there are a number of ways that Drupal 7 could be much more accessible out of the box than it is right now. I've spent a bit of time working on a few items to improve and document some accessibility enhancements. Spent some time going through WCAG 2.0 documentation & comparing it with Drupal Core. And have been making patches and proposing best practices enhancements for a number of projects.
I'm definitely much more of a PHP/MySQL developer, but the complexity of finding a neat solution that works for SEO, across all major browsers, and also with several screen readers is pretty...
By Mike Gifford on 19/02/2009
Well, it's been interesting to see how the government is choosing to investigate alternative software licenses.  In a very broad definition that includes (thanks Wikipedia for this summary) it isn't clear that this definition is going to provide them very useful responses:
Freely redistributable software
Free software
Open source
I wanted to thank the many respondents who took the time to fill in our survey. 
Michael Richardson, Sandelman Software Works Corporation...
By Mike Gifford on 11/02/2009
One of the reasons given about why the government should worry about open source software is security.  I'm rather tired of this argument, so after hearing it one too many times, I decided to take some action. 
The concern is that if a piece of software is open for everyone, including hackers, it will be more vulnerable. This has been shot down any number of times, with some of the best known arguments stemming from the idea that many eyeballs will give you better confidence in the security of your software. Others security experts that have argued that good open source software is as secure...
By Mike Gifford on 03/02/2009
I attended an excellent talk last night about GCPedia that was presented by Jeff Braybrook, Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Canada at a Third Tuesday Ottawa Gathering. It was excellent to hear more about the history of the adoption of the open source tool Mediawiki within the Government of Canada. Jeff described Canada's CTO office as being "Hawkish about open source", and wanting to use it as much as possible. At a time when procurement officers and IT departments are still questioning whether or not open source can be used within government, this was great news.
His view that wiki's...
By Mike Gifford on 20/01/2009
OpenConcept has been working with our clients since 1999 to ensure that their content is positioned well.  There have been a lot of changes over the past decade and we have been involved in many organizational efforts to understand the web. 
We have only recently started offering strategic planning workshops for organizations who want to come to a greater understanding of how to make better use of the Internet.  Involving both technical and senior communications staff we can walk through issues that all national organizations are struggling with.  The web moves quickly and it is critical that...
By Mike Gifford on 03/01/2009
So I decided it would be interesting to do a bit of a search within the Government of Canada's public pages for use or mentions of wiki's.  There's been quite a lot of discussion on this front in 2008, so wanted to see where things stood at the beginning of 2009. 
Unfortunately there were only 404 references to the term wiki within domains with a * domain.  Most wiki's aren't public so that isn't too surprising, and the two big instances of wiki implementation within the Government of Canada (GCpedia & NRCan's wiki) certainly aren't visible outside of their networks.  Most of these...
By Mike Gifford on 21/11/2008
Just wanted to add that the Obama administration is reviewing OpenID for consideration within the .gov domain ( also now using Drupal).

David Eaves just wrote up a good appeal for OpenID in his post canadian governments: how to waste millions online ($30m and counting).
Looks like the USA government is now endorsing OpenID (note site now using Drupal) as a framework.
I wanted to point folks to a GC OpenID (no longer available), a proof of concept project to bring OpenID to the Government of Canada.
I first became aware of the movement behind the OpenID project back in 2004...