David Nutter

Paul Richardson: Open Source Health Informatics 1

Paul Richardson writes:

Some of you may already know about my views on the revolutionary effect that could be triggered by the NHS adopting the use of open source software (and an open source approach to developing its own software). I have not been able to contain myself any longer and so my thoughts are now finding wider expression in a blog that I’ve started:


Earlier today I posted an article on a proposed top 10 open source projects for the NHS. I would be very interested to receive your comments. The idea is to use the blog as a focal point for an emerging community of interested parties until the point in time that a more appropriate rallying point is established.

If you are interested in this subject, you can subscribe to the blog using RSS or follow me on Twitter which I will use to announce new posts.

External event: Leveraging Open Source Software for Commercial Advantage

Andrew Katz has asked us to pass on details of the above event. Apologies for the short notice!

Andrew Katz, partner at Moorcrofts, and a former programmer himself, will be giving a brief presentation on the practical steps that companies can take to avoid the “viral” issues that many people perceive to be an issue with open source software, and will demonstrate that by taking some simple steps, companies can take advantage of the vast pool of high quality software code and use it to their own commercial advantage, after which he and the rest of the Moorcrofts team will be available to discuss the issues, and there will also be an opportunity to network over a pint and some nibbles.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 6:00 PM (GMT+0100)
George and Dragon The Causeway (Lower High Street)
SL7 2AA Marlow
United Kingdom

Further details at http://moorcrofts.eventbrite.com/

Alfresco Meetup: London

We’ve recently received word that the creators of the Alfresco Open Source content management system are holding a “Meetup” event at the Park Plaza, Victoria, London. The organisers provided the following description:

The Meetups cover a range of open source topics, and are designed to inform and educate the community on all the latest company news. Some Alfresco Customer speakers from last year included the CIO’s from Islington and the North London Waste Authority, and Alfresco is planning more customer speakers for the events this year.

For further details please see http://www.alfresco.com/about/events/2010/04/ukmeetup/

Recent downtime

The server on which this site resided hitherto recently suffered hardware failure and the site was therefore restored from backup on a new server at a different location. Between the time required for the restoration process itself and the DNS updates necessary to make the restored site visible we suffered several days downtime. Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

Looking on the bright side, we took the opportunity to update the WordPress software which runs the site and the new server is considerably better specified than the old machine so the site should be more responsive.

Unfortunately, the restoration process required a reset of all MailMan passswords, so if you wish to unsubscribe or change your preferences you will need to request a password reminder from MailMan.

Google Calendar and the OSSG blog

A user reported that the iCal feed provided by the OSSG blog caused Google Calendar to repeatedly send event reminders for old events. After some digging I am still not sure why Google Calendar behaves in this way; I think the timestamps on the feed items may change under some circumstances, making Google Calendar think the events are “new” and thus send and email.

In an attempt to resolve this issue I have upgraded the software that provides the iCal feed and restricted the posts shown by default in the feed to those after a date 1 month in the past. Hopefully the software upgrade will prevent the issue occurring in the future, if you still experience problems please let me know. I’ve subscribed my own Google Calendar to the OSSG feed now, so I shall share the pain if there is an issue

I’ve also changed the default feed type on the blog from the venerable vCal type to iCal and introduced a CAPTCHA and confirmation step for user registrations. This will hopefully reduce the incidence of spam-bot registration.

3rd International Workshop on Foundations and Techniques for Open Source Software Certification

Over the past decade, the Open Source Software (OSS) phenomenon has had a global
impact on the way software systems and and software-based services are developed,
distributed and deployed. Widely acknowledged benefits of OSS include reliability,
low development and maintenance costs, as well as rapid code turnover. Linux distributions,
Apache and MySQL serve, among many other examples, as a testimony
to its success and resilience.

However, state-of-the-art OSS, by the very nature of its open, unconventional, distributed
development model, make software quality assessment, let alone full certification,
particularly hard to achieve and raises important challenges both from the
technical/methodological and the managerial points of view.

This makes the use of OSS, and, in particular, its integration within complex
industrial-strength applications, with stringent security requirements, a risk. And,
simultaneously an opportunity and a challenge for rigourous, mathematically based,
methods in software analysis and engineering.

In such a context, the aim of this workshop is to bring together researchers from
academia and industry who are broadly interested in the quality assessment of open
source software projects, ultimately leading to the establishment of coherent certification
processes, at different levels.

Following the success of the two previous editions (collocated to ETAPS’07, in
Braga, and OSS’08, at IFIP WCC, in Milan, respectively), the workshop will focus
on formal methods and model-based techniques that appear promising to facilitate
OSS certification. Both foundational, methodological and pragmatic issues will be
addressed, through both standard technical communications and reports on concrete
case-studies and experimental data.

Contributions are expected to foster a broad debate on OSS assessment and certification,
integrating techniques and elements from areas as different as

  • product and process certification
  • certification standards
  • formal modelling and verification (model checking and theorem proving)
  • software quality and reverse engineering
  • static analysis, testing and inspection
  • safety and security certification
  • language design and evolving systems
Workshop format and certification
The one-day workshop will feature invited talks, a pannel discussion and contributed
paper presentations. All contibutions, in the form of either full technical papers
or short position papers, will undergo a peer-review process. All papers should be
written in English and not exceed 10 pages.
Accepted papers will be published in Electronic Communications of the EASST. Publication of selected papers in a journal is currently under negotiation.
Important dates
Submission deadline: 9 January, 2009
Acceptance notification: 6 February, 2009
Where and when
York, UK – 28 March 2009 –
Satellite Event of ETAPS 2009
See also
http://opencert.iist.unu.edu/ for further details, including organising committee, review panel and all updated information

Holland Open Software Conference June 11-12 in Amsterdam

Members may be interested in the following:

Amsterdam, June 11 and 12. With a pre-conference (mapping-party) and the
side-conference: 4 years after the ?motie Vendrik? (plea for
governmental use of open standards and open source software) in
collaboration with the open source taskforce of the Dutch political
Party GroenLinks. Location: the beautiful Aula of the University of
Amsterdam (at the ?Spui?), Singel 411, Amsterdam.

This year?s speakers include yet again some renowned experts in the
fields of open source software, open standards and open content including speakers from Vodafone, Yahoo,
Wikimedia, IBM, Google Earth, University of Leuven, European Schoolnet,
OpenStreetmap, European Union, Dutch government, Dutch schools and many

For the latest information on the conference please see www.hosc.nl.