There's a new forge in town. Not SourceForge. Not NewsForge, either. I'm talking about Government Forge, which joins a small but growing community involved in spreading the word about open source solutions available for government entities.
According to a story at Linuxjournal.com, the idea for Government Forge came from Richard Brice, an employee in the Department of Transportation with the state of Washington. The Government Forge site is modeled after a similar site for schools called Schoolforge.
Tom Adelstein, author of the story on LinuxJournal.com, is one of the small band of open source enthusiasts who are attempting to make Brice's vision of a central location to facilitate collaborative work by government agencies a reality. Government Forge's mission statement consists of a single sentence. It explains that "Government Forge exists to serve state and local government information systems workers and departments in promulgating open source software technologies."
The new site has already spawned a project hosted on SourceForge.net called leopard, which is code for LAMP eGovernment OpenSource Project Augmented Relational Database. Leopard provides a free and open source "web-enabled system for use in quickly setting up public information sites."
In addition to the website, Government Forge also has two public mailing lists you can subscribe to and join in active discussion of open source solutions for the public sector.
Tom Adelstein is a Dallas-based Linux consultant and open source activist. Much of his time this past year was devoted to working with Senator John Carona on Texas Senate Bill 1579. Although the bill died in committee, it did bring the issue of cost savings in state government through increased use of open source software to the Texas lawmakers.
Joe Barr has been writing about technology for 10 years, and about Linux for five. His work has appeared in IBM Personal Systems Journal, LinuxGazette, LinuxWorld, Newsforge, phrack, SecurityFocus, and VARLinux.org. He is the founder of The Dweebspeak Primer, the official newsletter of the Linux Liberation Army.