Open Source & the Changing of the Guard

Back when I first discovered open source software, at the dawn of my computing and consulting career, I was pretty sure it was some kind of rainbow magic, better than sliced bread. Once other folks found this stuff, it was going to catch on like wildfire, and why not?

That was over 15 years ago, so clearly I was really, really wrong, at least from the point of view of governments and large corporate enterprises (in the start-up space, the revolution happened over 10 years ago, and nobody is looking back). Over time, I began to reformulate my thesis:

Open Source & the Changing of the Guard

This morning, I saw this tweet, which is fun:

That’s one good data point, hooray!

But in all honesty, I don’t feel like there is necessarily an open source wave cresting, certainly not in the big organization I’m nearest to, the BC government.

So it still falls to in-house innovation centers like GDS or the US Digital Service to try to demonstrate, mandate, and teach a new way of doing things to the old guard of IT.

GDS team

It’s not clear they are succeeding, even on their own terms. More on that another day.

Do you have links to interesting experiments in doing enterprise IT in a new way? Drop them in the comments, I think it’s time to revisit government enterprise IT and what kind of program can chip away at the culture that has accreted over the last generation.

There’s some interesting experiments out there, let’s hear about them.