June 17, 2005

Design a logo, win fame and prizes

Author: Tina Gasperson

The Open Source Academy, a United Kingdom government project designed to encourage the use of open source software in the public sector, needs a logo. In the spirit of open source community, the Academy launched a logo design competition today, and you don't have to be a professional graphics designer to enter.The Open Source Academy is the brainchild of Mark Taylor, founder and executive director of the Open Source Consortium. He believes that the academy will help the U.K's council governments catch up to other European countries in open source software adoption and use. The academy will provide advice on free and open source software use, training materials, product recommendations, and server space for collaborative open source software development so that the public sector can settle on open standards and move away from proprietary operating systems, applications, and file formats.

The logo competition is the first external manifestation of the U.K. government's budding commitment to open source software and standards, says Taylor. "The idea for the competition was introduced by me, but it is, of course, an incredibly common idea in the open source world. There are any number of open source projects that do the same, and we thought it would be great for the logo to be designed in good old-fashioned open source project style. The interesting thing is that open source culture is alien to our friends at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM), but they are taking to it remarkably well, and even seem to be enjoying themselves."

The ODPM is the government entity that oversees the IT needs of the district councils. The ODPM is implementing an "e-government" initiative that seeks to streamline and update technology throughout the United Kingdom public sector and to move the majority of government services online over the next several years.

Taylor says the ODPM has been looking at the open source world for a long time with a "certain bemusement," but there is a growing realization that it produces "amazing results. I suspect they have also noticed the enormous amount of fun we have in the open source world and wanted a little of that themselves."

The deadline for entry is June 30, and the winning logo will be used on the academy's official Web site, as well as its correspondence and advertising. The designer of the best logo will receive a 60GB iPod Photo MP3 player.

Taylor says the logo competition is more than just a search for the best graphics. "I wanted to do this as part of a wider commitment to bring as many authentic open source features and practices into the academy as possible. This is going to be the first visible output of the academy that is done open source style, but certainly not the last.

"The commitment to doing real genuine open source is palpable and we're very excited about the impact this is going to have."

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