As long time readers know, I’ve been trying to get our Town to adopt free/open source software products for the last 6 years.

There’s been some success but not enough.

FOSS (free/open source software) is a low cost alternative to the Microsoft Monopoly (the Town could’ve saved between $500-700K by now if it had adopted some of the recommendations of the now defunct Technology Advisory Board). Beyond driving cost out of the process, many of these products use (heck, celebrate) open standards which will preserve our information assets over the long haul and prevent costly proprietary lock-in.

Tomorrow, the Carolina Open Source Initiative (COSI), an organization dedicated to promoting and supporting Open Source software, principles and practices at UNC-CH will sponsor Software Freedom Day 2007.

Check out their FAQ “to learn more about Open Source software, and why you should get involved!”

Thanks to UNC’s Free Culture folks for the tip.

Speakers and Participants

10am Max Spevack from Red Hat.

Max is the Fedora Project Leader

11am Amit Bhutani from DELL. Amit is a Sr. Linux Software Engineer

12, noon – Pam Sessoms, University Library

Pam will be giving a talk on how her team customized the Pidgin chat client for use by librarians at UNC-CH. Multiple librarians can seamlessly answer questions using the ‘davisrefdesk’ IM nickname, and evening questions can be routed to librarians at Duke and NCSU as part of the Night Owl chat feature. Such customization would not have been possible if Pidgin had not been released under an Open license.

12:45pm Mark Finkle of Mozilla.

Mark is a Platform Evangelist at Mozilla Corporation. His primary job is to make it easy for people to develop extensions for Firefox. He also provides support for developers building applications on XULRunner and embedding Gecko in native applications.

1:45 Joseph Mack of AustinTek

Joseph will be discussing the Linux Virtual Server for people who are unfamiliar with the project and for those who would like to get started but want some background.

I’ll be banging the drum, once again, this year for wider adoption of these technologies by the Town to improve service delivery, preserve our information assets, promote greater transparency in the governance process and DRIVE COST out of the system.

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