Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Linux and PWGSC Canada

After giving Linux the cold shoulder for years, there are signs from the federal government that it might be slowly flocking to the free operating system and open source software.

In fact, an Ottawa open source advocate says a small pro-Linux organization is already operating quietly within Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC).

The Getting Open Source and Linux Into Governments group (GOSLINGS) formed in May following a federal conference in Gatineau, Que. Goslings, incidentally, are young geese, and the group is riffing off the penguin and bird motif of Linux's trademark.

The new organization, which is probably the first internal group of its type, hopes to host an official Web site through PWGSC early next year. If that happens, it’ll be a small coup for the government open source movement, its organizers say. PWGSC sets the IT standards for every other federal department through its Government Telecommunications and Informatics Services (GTIS) branch.

Russell McOrmond, a volunteer member of GOSLINGS, says departments like Canadian Heritage, Industry Canada and National Defense are quietly experimenting with Linux. These departments haven’t publicly supported the operating system yet, but he hopes that will change with the creation of the group.

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