May 30’th, 2008 is the 6 year anniversary of GOSLING: Getting Open Source Logic INto Governments. We are having a party at the Parliament Pub, just in front of the parliament buildings in Ottawa. For details and any changes please see our website where we also ask people to RSVP so we can plan food.
GOSLING started in May 2002 as a couple of informal Friday gatherings after work at the pub, to bounce around some ideas ahead of the first free/libre/open source software event hosted by the Government of Canada. We have been meeting nearly every Friday since. Our weekly gatherings are very informal. While we expect our 6-year anniversary party to be larger than any other GOSLING gathering in the past, it will be equally informal.
I explain GOSLING to new people this way: We are are a group of private citizens who happen to have interesting day jobs. In our day jobs we come from all sectors of the economy including the public, private, educational and volunteer. We discuss technology, software and technology policy with a common belief in not only the benefits of Free/Libre and Open Source Software, but also the logic behind it being applied to things beyond software.
I created an event on Facebook to quickly let friends on that system know about the event. This is not, however, an official group since my co-coordinator is not a fan of Facebook because it is not open enough.
Forget for the moment whether you agree or disagree with him. This is someone whose day job is at the Treasury Board Secretariat of the Government of Canada, and is someone who thinks that Facebook is too closed to be used by GOSLING to promote our event. I believe it is important for people to meet members of GOSLING with our variety of interesting day jobs, as it allows people to recognize that there are people working inside government for a far greater level of openness, transparency and accountability. For those of us in the private sector, it help break some of the misconceptions we may have about people working in the public sector.
Aside: In my case I don’t consider Facebook to be any different than the BBS systems I helped administer and otherwise participated on in the 1980’s. While the younger generation think Facebook is so new, it is in fact not all that different than what we were doing 25 years ago. The main difference is that rather than the number of concurrent participants being in the single digits, there are tens or hundreds of thousands of concurrent people on Facebook.
Different participants at GOSLING have different areas where they focus. We have people who aren’t programmers and come at these issues from a non-technical policy perspective. We have people who are operating system kernel hackers who have very deep technical backgrounds.
Anyone who has read my BLOG knows that my main area of interest is in how the government regulates technology, such as through copyright, patent, telecommunications and broadcasting laws. And if these areas of law are boring to you, there are other people at GOSLING who agree and have other things they prefer to discuss.
ITBusiness.ca and IT World Canada has discussed GOSLING in the past, including:
- 2002: The pros and cons of open source computing
- 2004: The Golden GOOSE: Inside a Canadian open source project felt all over the world
- 2005: GOSLING a shining example of IT innovation through shared ideas
- 2006: Feds put open source into active service
- 2006: Open source advocates step up government lobby efforts
- 2007: Will the enterprise open up?