I am glad to read the the Prime Minister has decided to probe the sale the applications (built and paid using tax dollars) by the PAP Town Councils to the PAP-owned company AIM.
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I would like to know the following:
- Who will head this?
- What kind of time frame will this have to be done by – one month, one year, by next general election?
- In the meantime, what happens to the monies that have been spent (and to be spent) in the transaction
- Will there be a public disclosure of companies that are PAP-owned and a list of transactions done by them with public sector agencies. I would expect the same from the WP and other political parties as well.
I would also like to hear from the Prime Minister on how we can ensure that all technology used/developed/deployed in any public sector entity in Singapore will FIRST consider open source solutions and failing to find something, then with a request for exemption (RFE), filed, published and approved, to look at non-open source options.
The time is NOW to make the bold and exciting change, Mr Prime Minister. I am sure this is of no concern to you, but rest assured your legacy will be being acknowledged as the Open Source Prime Minister.
While it might be premature to say “well done”, any progress is good progress. Doing the right thing is what this is all about.
As citizens, we need to keep a watchful eye on this probe to ensure that nothing is left unturned and keep the pressure on.
Again, my offer to help build an open source solution to managing Town Council system remains.
Let me take this opportunity to flesh out a proposal of how this can be accomplished.
- We establish a Singapore Open Institute, funded by government and/or corporate sponsors.
- SOI’s role will be primarily at assessing all the open source solutions being developed around the world especially for government (and education) and finding local use of them. Likewise, local public sector agencies can seek SOI’s help in creating open source solutions.
- SOI will be the trusted agency that public sector entities will seek advise and clearance in projects they want to undertake.
- SOI will also create a Public Sector Software Exchange (PSX). The PSX will be open to anyone, anywhere to contribute to as well as to consume code from. All code in PSX could be on a GPLv3 or Apache License v 2 or something Singapore-branded, like the EU open license. PSX will also host SMEs, start-ups and individuals who can provide solutions. Parts of the Instruction Manual will have to be amended as needed to accomodate this.
- SOI will also be the entity to which requests for exemption (RFE) has to be applied for by public sector agencies before going for closed source products. RFEs will have an expiry period and will be specific to a project.
- SOI will also be the catalyst in creating and running programming contests, hack-a-thons etc (both with open source software and hardware). This is principally to encourage as many people to learn coding and build solutions.
- Mindef, Police, SCDF and security related agencies are exempted from SOI but are strongly encouraged to create an equivalent of forge.mil.
- SOI will also be the thought leader for Open Data, Open Source, Open Hardware and Open Standards.
It is an idea whose time has come for Singapore to act on, Mr Prime Minister.
Let’s do the right thing.