Peanut Butter Blogging and Open Source Adoption

My colleague Scott Johnson wrote a couple of interesting blog posts over on the Rock Creek blog this week. One focuses on the UK government’s announcement that they’re moving toward using open source software whenever possible; the other highlight’s HHS’s smooth use of social media during the sticky peanut butter recall (pun intended.)

Both of these posts generated a few thoughs (and even more questions) that I wanted to share with my fellow GovLoopers:

–On open source software: How many of you guys are using open source software in your agencies? Is it something your agency would even consider? And how many of you are using it in your homes?

I’m one of those people that loves the idea of open source software and supports it, but I haven’t personally made the transition yet, preferring the known idiosyncrasies and ‘safety’ of MS Word to the unknown of OpenOffice. That being said, I’m in the market for a new laptop and may try out some open source alternatives before forking out the $$ for more licenses.

–On HHS’s use of social media during the peanut butter recall: I was pretty impressed to see all the social media avenues HHS employed to spread the word about the PB incident. But I was surprised when Scott mentioned that some government employees needed to get waivers to use social media sites? Huh? Someone please tell me more about this.

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Andre Goodfriend

I’ve used Open Source software at home for years, relying to a certain exent upon the community of users to have an impact on its development. Also, because it competes with proprietary systems it often tries for increased compatibility and interoperability.

That being said, I imagine that most USG offices have used Apache web server software in initially setting up websites.

Also, I note that the media is reporting that DOD is launching a site to develop open source software.

It’s good to look at the UK example, and even better to see that we’re not so far behind — in fact we may even be ahead.

Tim Constantine

Hi Amy,

We use a ton of free and open source software. See my blog post.

Since that post I’ve been trying several new applications:

xMind – Mind mapping software.

iReport – Report generating software.

JasperServer – Free web (or intranet) based report hosting for reports generated with iReport (also available with an easy installer from BitNami).

Open Workbench – Microsoft Project Replacement.

ProcessMaker – Web (or intranet) based workflow.

PrimoPDF – I like this software’s option of being able to send an e-mail with the PDF attached after it’s created.

At home I use a lot of open source software including:

KeePass – for keeping track of my passwords.

Inkscape – for drawing.