News about the OSSG’s activities

Call for Open Source Project Contest Applications


The BCS OSSG desires to support and encourage students and apprentices to use and develop open source software and hardware in their project work.

All students and apprenticesare invited to enter one of the project contests sponsored by the BCS Open Source Specialist Group. The project contests are as follows:

  • Best school projectfor students who are still at secondary school or sixth form college
  • Best first year projectfor students who are in their first year of study at a UK Higher Education Institution (HEI).
  • Best second year projectfor students in their second year of study at a UK HEI (also those on an industrial year or 3rd year of a 4 year degree – basically this is for students between their first and final years).
  • Best final year undergraduateprojectfor students in their final year of study for a BA, BSc, BEng, or in the penultimate year of an MEng (this will often be the 3rd year, but may be the fourth or fifth year, if the student has taken a year abroad, year in industry, or is studying for a 4 year Scottish degree).
  • Best apprentice projectcompleted by an apprentice working in a UK company on an approved apprenticeship scheme.

The winner in each category will be awarded a cash prize of 100;application must be submitted by 15thAugust 2016.

More information at http://ossg.bcs.org/student-project-2016.

Malvern Raspberry Jam (Family & Adult Edition) – Malvern 21/10/2015

Raspberry PiInnovate Malvern in collaboration with The Pi Shop are organising an event for people to what they have done with their Raspberry Pis, or to attend and learn about the Pi hardware and software and perhaps get started on your own projects.

The event will be held on  Wednesday 21st October 2015 at Walwyn Road (near Fossil Bank), Upper Colwall, WR13 6PL, Malvern
between 7:30pm and 9:30pm.

Come to be inspired, make friends, and collaborate on new ideas. Also, if you have children attending the earlier Student Edition of the Malvern Raspberry Jam, then this is your chance to try and get ahead of them! After the session at about 9pm, people can head to either The Chase Inn or the Wyche Inn for a drink and chat.

There will be keyboards, display monitors, power, and wifi available for you to connect up your Pi. The event is free to attend, but because space is limited, we ask you to please register in advance.


Richard Stallman talks – Lincoln 29/11/2013 and London 30/11/2013

RMS and Assange

Richard Stallman will be in UK giving one talk in the University of Lincoln (29th November) and one in London, at BitcoinExpo (30th November).

At Lincoln, Richart Stallman will be talking on “A Free Digital Society” (registration recommended). The event will take place 06:00 PM to 08:00 PM in the Jackson Lecture Theatre (MB0603), Main Admin Building (MAB), Brayford Pool Campus, University of Lincoln, Brayford Pool.

In London, he will be talking about “Software Freedom, Internet Freedom, and Bitcoin” (registration needed). The event will take place 5:20 PM to 6:20 PM at Cafe 1001, 91 Brick Lane, E1, London.

Richard Stallman is best known for launching the GNU Project in 1983, to create a “Unix-like computer operating system composed entirely of free software”. This is the foundation of Linux as we know it (or more correctly, GNU/Linux). Today, he continues his work with the GNU Project and the Free Software Foundation.

Volunteers needed for the Open Source SG

Help wanted

Would you consider helping your Specialist Group to provide a full and varied programme for BCS members and the public?

The Open Source SG of BCS is also looking for volunteers to assist with the running of the SG, which includes its events programme. There are a variety of duties available for everyone no matter how much time you are able to give.

Becoming a volunteer for BCS is a great way to expand on your CV, as well as providing a service for local members.

If you have an interest in helping the BCS Open Source Specialist Group by volunteering your services, then please contact the Member Groups Team on groups@hq.bcs.org.uk for more information on the roles available.

Public Funds in the UK: Open Source for Document and Content Management? – London 07/01/10 1

Is Open Source a viable way for the public sector to contain its IT costs?  Government policy is gradually becoming more favourable to open source (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7910110.stm).  Many commentators identify open source as a way to contain spiralling project costs (e.g. http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/aug/07/local-government-open-source-birmingham-website-costs).  Yet much of this discussion is driven by underlying agendas: it contains as much disinformation as realistic appraisal of the capabilities of open source software.

The BCS Open Source Specialist Group is organising an event to look at the reality behind the rhetoric.  Responding to the challenge in the above Guardian article, we aim to bring together a group of information management practitioners and vendors to discuss their experience of web and document management in the public sector.  The event will consist of a series of talks, panel sessions and open discussion of the challenges of web and document management in the public sector, and the ways in which open source software might be suitable for addressing these challenges.

The event will be held at the BCS Central London Offices, First Floor, The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London WC2E 7HA (http://www.bcs.org/upload/pdf/london-office-guide.pdf)) on Thursday 7th January, 2010, from 10.00 to 17.30.

There will be no fee to participate in this event and a free buffet and refreshments will be available during the day.

To book a place to attend this event please contact Mark Elkins via mark_elkins@bcs.org


10.00     Introduction

10.15     Mike Davis (Ovum)

10.45     Matt Hamilton (Netsight)

11.15     break

11.30    John Newton (Alfresco)

12.00    Mike Grafham (Deloitte)

12.30    Jon Marks (LBi)

13.00    lunch

13.45    Danny Budzak (Newham case study)

14.15    John Lindsay (Kingston University)

14.45    Francois Mounier (Camden case study)

15.15    break

15.30    Tjeerd Brenninkmeijer (Hippo)

16.00    Janus Boye (J.Boye)

16.30    break

16.45    Panel Session (all speakers)


Mike Davis is a Senior Analyst with Ovum covering the breadth of Information Management technologies, with a particular focus on information discovery and access.  As a consultant, researcher and accomplished speaker, Mike’s analysis and strategic advice is highly respected in both blue chip businesses and large public sector organisations across Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

Since joining Ovum Mike has established himself as a key influencer and commentator in the areas of Content Management and Information Access, through reports, speaking and consultancy.  Before Ovum, he worked at Butler Group for six years leading the Knowledge Management and Public Sector practices, developing particular expertise in the areas of Enterprise Portals, Business Intelligence, Compliance, and Records Management.

Mike’s career prior to becoming an analyst was principally in the UK National Health Service, but he also spent periods as an IT consultant and as the IT Manager for an International Chartered Institute.  During his seventeen years in the NHS, Mike was both an operational manager for community health care services, and latterly an Information Services Director, acting as a key advisor on regional and national initiatives.

Mike is frequent speaker at conferences and Master Classes across Europe and in Asia Pacific, and provides comments for both mainstream media such as the Financial Times and CNBC, and the specialist computing press.  Mike gained an MBA in 1998; he describes himself as a strategist with a passion for management, and flair for information.

Matt Hamilton is Technical Director of Netsight Internet Solutions a Plone development company based in Bristol, UK.  He is generally involved in Plone consulting on scalability, authentication and integration of Plone in the enterprise.  He organised the Plone performance sprint in Bristol in 2008.  Matt served on the founding board of the Plone Foundation, and is currently serving in his third term on the board.

John Newton is CTO and Chairman of Alfresco, an open source content management system founded in 2005 and now the largest private open source company.  John has spent the last 25 years building information management software, including co-founding Documentum, the enterprise content management company in 1990.  John started his career as one of the original engineers at Ingres and ultimately ran the database group.  John was also one of the first entrepreneurs in residence in Europe at Benchmark Capital.  John graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from UC Berkeley.

Mike Grafham has worked in the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) industry since 2001, and is currently a Manager in Deloitte’s ECM consultancy practice.  He has experienced a wide range of ECM engagements in both the public and private sectors, using both commercial and open source products.  Most recently, Mike has been working on an open source WCMS implementation with one client, alongside a commercial WCMS implementation with another, and will be able to provide his views from this unique perspective.

Jon Marks has been working in the Web industry since 1995.  He has been directly involved in over 50 CMS implementations including systems such as Vignette, Interwoven, Tridion, MOSS, Fatwire, MediaSurface and EPiServer, as well as many search engines and analytics suites.  He is particularly interested in the vendor selection and partner selection process, and how to build a long and trusting relationship between the parties involved.  Jon is currently Head of Development for LBi UK (www.lbi.co.uk).

Danny Budzak has been working with technologies since they were ‘new’. He started by building community information databases across a library network in east London using videotext.  He then became one of the country’s first local authority web editors and won a New Statesmen New Media award in 1999.  For the past six years he’s been working as an independent consultant in information management and governance. He helped to build an open source community history site – http://www.newhamstory.com/.

This is using the Drupal content management system and enables people to publish stories, photographs and comments about local history.  The site has been live for 18 months and has over 400 users.  Users can tag their content using either a controlled vocabulary, or can add their own tags.  The use of tagging enables content to be collated around time, place and subject and helps the users see new patterns in the information.  Within the Drupal system, the tagging is also supporting the overall information architecture of the site, helping to create dynamic a-z lists and directories to further enhance search and retrieval.

He is now working on a second project, North East Stories – http://www.northeaststories.com/ – a local history project in the north east of England. Danny continues to be fascinated and infuriated by technologies, people and systems in equal measure and records his thoughts at http://www.artofgov.com/

John Lindsay is Reader in Information Systems Design at Kingston University.  He has been following the adventures of public sector development of electronic governance for about thirty years and has continually been puzzled by the sorts of decisions which are taken by a broad range of interested parties, particularly those with a professional obligation as well as those of a political, economic, social and technological bent.

Part of the story might be told in the introductory paragraph for the meeting, “containing IT costs”? Is this really what is driving thinking?  If we are trying to make sense of technology and its social application to government, what sort of concepts and methods do we need? Open source is one of these, which is not the same as open access, nor does it mean free. Instead what we might have is a fundamental change in the obligations of citizenship?

Francois Mounier. As Integration and development manager at London borough of Camden, Francois is the technical lead on many of the transformation agenda programmes within Camden including e-channel and integration strands.  He has been evangelising the use of open standards within Camden as one of the critical success factors of current and future developments. He started his career as a developer with a background in web analytics.

Tjeerd Brenninkmeijer co-founded Hippo with Arjé Cahn & Jeroen Verberg.  He founded Hippo in 1999 to help organizations & governments leverage open source Content Management and Portal technologies to manage and access information, protect sensitive data, share knowledge, optimize collaboration and reduce operational costs.  Hippo was recognized by Deloitte in its Fast 500 for 2007, 2008 and 2009.  To keep up with the rapid expansion, Hippo now has over 50 employees located in its European headquarters in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and North American headquarters in San Francisco, California.  Travelling between between the Hippo offices & conferences around the globe, you can always find Tjeerd carrying around his kite-surfing gear to try & find new undiscovered spots with lots of wind.

Janus Boye is founder and managing director of J.Boye (www.jboye.com).  He is a busy and productive author, covering topics such as intranet, CMS, and web strategy, and has contributed to several CMS Watch reports, including The Web CMS Report, Enterprise Portals Report and Enterprise Social Software and Collaboration Report.  Janus is a frequent speaker at industry events and the chairman of the internationally recognised J.Boye Conferences held each year in Aarhus, Denmark, and Philadelphia, US.

Accelerating Enterprise adoption of Open Source Software – London 05/10/09

Register at http://btosaccelerate.eventbrite.com/

You’ve heard about the economic and technical benefits of open source software, and perhaps even made the decision to go with open source-based solutions. But you are also aware of some big issues that need to be addressed, perhaps framed by a degree of fear, uncertainty and doubt.

You might be unsure as to what support options are available. You may have concerns about Intellectual Property indemnification. And you’ve possibly read of cases where people have fallen foul of the licensing conditions attached to open source software.

For sure, Open Source Software presents enterprises with an unprecedented range of benefits. But with it come considerations and obligations: support, Intellectual Property and licensing amongst them. These need not be onerous, but you need to have a good, thorough understanding of them and the implications.

This conference will cover these key issues about open source software and will show how enterprises can accelerate effective and appropriate adoption.

BT has joined forces with Canonical (the creators of the market leading desktop Linux distribution), IBM and Moorcrofts LLP to bring you a full agenda that is designed to be both enlightening and practical. Speakers will include Mark Shuttleworth, the CEO of Canonical and founder of Ubuntu Linux, Adam Jollans, Open Source Strategy Manager at IBM, and JP Rangaswami, BT’s Chief Scientist, as well as Andrew Katz, Partner at Moorcrofts LLP. There will also be a panel Q&A session chaired by long-time open source expert and author, Glyn Moody.

It’s a great line up and we hope you will be able to join us.

Kind regards,

Jeremy Ruston, Head of Open Source Innovation, BT.

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.

The World of Ubuntu and Open Source – Leeds 20/10/09

Matthew Barker, Corporate Services, Canonical Ltd will give a talk for the Open Source Specialist Group (OSSG) and the BCS West Yorkshire Branch on Tuesday 20th October 2009 from 1830 hours at The Met Hotel, King Street, Leeds, LS1 2HQ.

As open-source software has grown in sophistication, it has quickly become a viable alternative to the major proprietary operating systems. This presentation will give an update on the current capabilities of open source along with an insight into future developments. Matthew will discuss the issues and myths around its use in commercial and public-sector organisations, whilst also providing pointers for personal use.

The talk will include:

  • Overview of Ubuntu
  • Usage in the contexts of: Commercial-enterprise, Public Sector, Personal
  • Open Source Applications
  • Open Source Capabilities
  • The road map

Matthew Barker joined Canonical in 2006, taking responsibility for the OEM channel in South Asia. Having successfully built partnerships with hardware manufacturers like HCL, Wipro and eSys, he moved into the Canonical Corporate Services Team in 2008 focussing on driving the adoption of Ubuntu in enterprise. He has overseen deployments with organisations like the NHS, York University and Handelsbanken. He has experience across all the significant vertical markets and of “the how and why” open source is being adopted.

Founded in late 2004, Canonical is the commercial sponsor of the Ubuntu project with the mission to help individuals and organisations take full advantage of open-source technologies by:

  • Delivering the world’s best free-software platform
  • Ensuring its availability to everyone
  • Supporting it with high-quality professional service offerings
  • Encouraging the continued growth and development of the free-software community

Canonical believes the open-source community creates better software. The community enables an increase development capacity many times over.

Ubuntu is a community-developed and supported project. Since its launch in October 2004, Ubuntu has become one of the most highly regarded Linux distributions with millions of users around the world. Every six months the world’s best free and open-source software is selected, tested, brought together, and made freely available on common technology platforms.

To book a place to attend this event please email your name to wybranchbcs@googlemail.com

Tea, Coffee, and Biscuits from 1745 hours