The Canadian government is testing ‘Open Resource Exchange’, an online catalogue for making available open source code, open data, open standards and other reusable solutions. The portal currently has four sections, including a list of 26 examples of public services using open source software, and another list of 33 solutions being developed as open source.
The third category – entitled ‘Partnerships’ – is currently empty. Here, the portal hopes to encourage public services and companies to join existing projects. “It’s a way to reduce costs and risks of investment to develop efficient and interoperable digital solutions,” the site explains in its introduction.
The fourth category currently lists three open standards: date and time format, HTML5, and Unicode (UTF-8).
The portal is still in beta. The goals of the project are to create a gathering space, let public services share, download and contribute to open source software, and help them learn about open source software and open standards.
Get in touch
The portal offers direct links to public services that use and develop open source software. Browsing the list of open source used by Canada’s public services makes it easy to get in touch with, say, those that use the Drupal web content management system. Drupal, it appears, is being used by the Communications Security Establishment, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Transport Canada, and Statistics Canada.
For those who want to know about the use of Linux, the portal helps them get in touch with the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, the City of Montreal, and Shared Services Canada. Similarly, for Docker, Elasticsearch, and Notepad++, the portal links to – in each case – two public services in Canada.
The portal is being developed in the open on GitHub. The project steering group includes four cities (Montreal, Edmonton, Guelph and Sarnia), two regions (Durham and Niagara), and four other public service organisations, including the Canadian government.
YML and ADMS
Over the past few weeks, both France and Italy have renewed their efforts to provide easy access to open source solutions developed by and for public services. The portals are looking for ways to automatically link their repositories to others - including the Commission's Joinup. Italy's Team Digitale has presented publiccode.yml, metadata that describes software solutions made by and for public services. The team is studying the possibility of integration with ADMS, an alternative schema for the automatic exchange of information on reusable solutions.