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Open source drives Greek projects on open data and transparency

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The Greek government is using open source software for its online projects aiming to increase government's transparency. System engineers are using Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP and other open source tools like WordPress and Joomla to run web projects that offer access to government data and geographic information.

The sites include the Greek government's Opengov platform, which was started in 2009, on the initiatives of the then prime minister George Papandreou. Here citizens can comment and discuss draft legislation. Other examples are Government Transparency project, providing data on the Greek government and IT Directors, a platform to get IT directors working for public administrations to collaborate.

All of these projects run on open source software, points out IT consultant George Karamanolis, a member of the ICT team in Papandreou's government and involved in some of these e-government and transparency projects. He talked about the Greek government's open source strategy at one of the final workshops organised by the Osepa project. The workshop took place in Athens earlier this month.

Karamanolis recommends that the government continues to try an open source approach for its new IT projects. Advantages of such a strategy include being able to share the solutions with other public administrations, he says. It makes it easier to collaborate and participate, is innovative and, once developed, can be used by many.

"It allows proof-of-concept implementations and agile development", says Karamanolis. "It increases organisational skills, promotes a digital culture and contributes positively to human resources."

Not the end
The Osepa project will end in December. The final conference is scheduled to take place on 21 and 22 November at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom. The group is also finalising a guide of best practices.

Part of the consortium is considering a follow-up, says IT manager Jan Verlinden, on behalf of one of its members, the Belgian city of Schoten. "We'd like to use the next phase to put into practice all that we have learned, and create even more concrete results."

More information:
Examples of Greek government sites running open source
OpenGov project
Osepa report on its final workshop
Osepa workshop presentations
Osepa web site
Osepa conference, University of Sheffield