The government is getting hip to the open-source wave. Last week, a coalition of public-sector IT developers made its first contributions to the Government Open Code Collaborative, a repository modeled after the open-source community.
The collaborative, with 17 state and local governments represented, lets members share code for applications that most agencies need. "Every year, there's the potential for 50 states to be writing a check for the same software," says Jim Willis, director of E-government for Rhode Island's office of the secretary of state.
Rhode Island recently contributed RSSonate, a SQL-to-RSS (Really Simple Syndication) tool that lets agencies push information from databases out to public Web sites in real time. It also contributed an open-meetings database that contains electronic-meeting notices. Massachusetts has contributed Virtual Law Office, a package of apps for state and municipal legal departments, and an administrator's guide to Big Brother, an application that monitors system and network-delivered services for availability.