Running for OSI board

After serving in the board of a few technological Israeli associations, I decided to run as an individual candidate in the OSI board elections which starts today. Hoping to add representation outside of North America and Europe. While my main interest is the licensing work, another goal I wish to achieve is to make OSI more relevant for Open Source people on a daily basis, making it more central for communities.

This year there are 12 candidates from 2 individual seats and 5 candidate for 2 affiliate seats (full list at OSI elections wiki page). Wish me luck (:

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Filed under Debian GNU/Linux, Fedora

AGPL enforced: The Israeli ICT authority releases code

Data.gov.il was created in 2011 after the Israeli social justice protests as part of the the public participation initiative and started to offer data held by the government. Back then the website was based on Drupal. In 2016 it was changed to CKAN, a designated system for releasing data. This system is licensed under the AGPLv3 requiring source code availability for anyone who can access the the system over a network, de facto for every user.

Since the change to CKAN, open source people asked the state to release the code according to the license but didn’t get a clear answer. All this time when it’s clear it’s violation.  This led Gai Zomer to file a formal complaint in March 2017 with the Israeli State Comptroller. Absurdly, that same month the ICT authority mentioned a policy to release source code it owns, while failing to release code it has taken from others and adapted.

With the end of the summer break and Jew holidays, and after I wasn’t able to get the source, I decided to switch to legal channels, and with the help of Jonathan Klinger and my company, Kaplan Open Source Consulting, we notified they should provide the source code or we’ll address the court.

Well, it worked. In 3 days time the CKAN extensions where available on the website, but in a problematic way, so users weren’t able to download easily. This is why we decided not to publish this code release and let them fix it first. In addition we made it clear all the source code should be available, not only the extensions. Further more, if they already release it’s recommended to use git format instead of just “dumping” a tarball. So we told them if they aren’t going to make a git repository we’ll do that ourselves, but in any case, would prefer them to do that .

While this issue is still pending, the ICT authority had a conference called “the citizen 360” about e-gov and open government in which they reaffirmed their open source plans.

A slide about open source from the Israeli ICT authority presentation

A slide about open source from the Israeli ICT authority presentation

Now, a month later, after our second letter to them, the about page in data.gov.il was updated with links to the ICT authority GitHub account which has the sources for the website and the extensions. A big improvement, and an important mark point as the commit to the repository was done by an official (gov.il) email address.

Beyond congratulating the Israeli ICT authority for their steps forward and the satisfaction of our insisting on them became fruitful, we would like to see the repository get updated on a regular basis, the code being given back to the various CKAN extensions (e.g. Hebrew translation). In general, we hope they would to get inspired by how the how data.gov.uk is doing technical transparency. If we allow ourselves to dream, we would like to see Israel becoming a dominate member in the CKAN community and among the other governments who use it.

We’re happy to be the catalyst for open source in the Israeli government, and we promise to keep insisted where needed. We know that due to other requests and notifications more organizations are on their way to release code.

(This post is a translation from Hebrew of a post in Kaplan Open Source Consulting at https://kaplanopensource.co.il/2017/11/20/data-gov-il-code-release/)

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Filed under Debian GNU/Linux, Fedora, Government Policy, Israeli Community, LibreOffice, PHP, Proud to use free software

Hacktoberfest 2017 @ Tel Aviv

I gave my “Midburn – creating an open source community” talk in Hacktoberfest 2017 @ Tel Aviv. This is the local version of an initiative by DigitalOcean and GitHub.

I was surprised about the vibe both the location and the organizers gave the event, and the fact they could easily arrange t-shirts, pizzas and beer.

Looking at the github search, it seem the worldwide event brings many new contributions. I think we have something to learn how to do a mass concept like that. Especially when it crosses both project limits and country limits. (e.g. not a local bug squashing party).

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Filed under Open source businesses

Debian Installer git repository

While dealing with d-i’s translation last month in FOSScamp, I was kinda surprised it’s still on SVN. While reviewing PO files from others, I couldn’t select specific parts to commit.

Debian does have a git server, and many DDs (Debian Developers) use it for their Debian work, but it’s not as public as I wish it to be. Meaning I lack the pull / merge request abilities as well as the review process.

Recently I got a reminder that the D-I’s Hebrew translation needs some love. I asked my local community for help. Receiving a PO file by mail, reminded me of the SVN annoyance. So this time I decided to convert it to git and ask people to send me pull requests. Another benefit would be making the process more transparent as others could see these PRs (and hopefully comment if needed).

For this experiment, I opened a repository on GitHub at https://github.com/kaplanlior/debian-installer I know they aren’t open source as GitLab, but they are a popular choice which is a good start for my experiment. If and when it succeeds, we can discuss the platform.

debian-9

Debian 9

(featured image by Jonathan Carter)

 

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Filed under Debian GNU/Linux

LibreOffice community celebrates 7th anniversary

The Document foundation blog have a post about LibreOffice 7th anniversary:

Berlin, September 28, 2017 – Today, the LibreOffice community celebrates the 7th anniversary of the leading free office suite, adopted by millions of users in every continent. Since 2010, there have been 14 major releases and dozens of minor ones, fulfilling the personal productivity needs of both individuals and enterprises, on Linux, macOS and Windows.

I wanted to take a moment to remind people that 7 years ago the community decided to make the de facto fork of OpenOffice.org official after life under Sun (and then Oracle) were problematic. From the very first hours the project showed its effectiveness. See my post about LibreOffice first steps. Not to mention what it achieved in the past 7 years.

This is still one of my favourite open source contributions, not because it was sophisticated or hard, but because it as about using the freedom part of the free software:
Replace hardcoded “product by Oracle” with “product by %OOOVENDOR”.

On a personal note, for me, after years of trying to help with OOo l10n for Hebrew and RTL support, things started to go forward in a reasonable pace, getting patches in after years of trying, having upstream fix some of the issues, and actually able doing the translation. We made it to 100% with LibreOffice 3.5.0 in February 2012 (something we should redo soon…).

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Filed under i18n & l10n, Israeli Community, LibreOffice

Recruiting for Open Source jobs

Part of services of Kaplan open source consulting is recruiting services to help companies find good open source people. In addition, we also try to help the community to find open source friendly businesses to work at.

Expect the “Usual Suspects” (e.g. RedHat), I encounter job descriptions which convince me these companies know the advantages of using open source projects and hiring open source people.

A few recent examples I found in Israel:

  • Advantages: People who like to build stuff (we really like people who maintain/contribute to open source projects) (Wizer Research)
  • You will: Incubate and contribute to open source projects (iguazio)
  • The X factor – significant contribution to an open-source community (unnamed startup)
  • An example open source project our team released is CoreML (Apple)
  • Job Responsibilities: Write open-source tools and contribute to open-source projects. (unnamed startup)
  • We’d like to talk to people who: Appreciate open-source culture and philosophy. (Seeking Alpha)

From the applicant side, the possibility to know which code base he or she is going to work on could help do a better and more educated choice about the offered position. While from the company side, getting “hard” evidence of what are the applicant capabilities and code looks like instead of just describing them or trying to demonstrate them on short tests. Not to mention the applicant’s ability to work as part of a team or community.

For the Israeli readers, you can see the full list at https://kaplanopensource.co.il/jobs/

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Filed under Israeli Community, Open source businesses

Public money? Public Code!

An open letter published today to the EU government says:

Why is software created using taxpayers’ money not released as Free Software?
We want legislation requiring that publicly financed software developed for the public sector be made publicly available under a Free and Open Source Software licence. If it is public money, it should be public code as well.

Code paid by the people should be available to the people!

See https://publiccode.eu/ for the campaign details.

This makes me think of starting an Israeli version…

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