OSIG is depending on who you talk to (or my mood) the Online Services Interest Group or the Online Services In Government Group. It was set up a few years ago by Fiona Reilly and Sam Smith for those who worked in online services in the WA Government the chance to network and see presentations targeted at those working in the WA Government. Unfortunately Fiona and Sam ended up at far ends of the world, Ireland and Midland, respectively and OSIG cease to exist except as a mailing list for jobs in the online and IT sector of the WA Government.
A couple of months ago Russ Weakley and Peter Firminger of the Web Standards Group happen to be in town and I convinced them to do a presentation Introduction to Web Standards to OSIG. At relatively short notice and with little marketing other than the OSIG and WSG mailing lists, we managed to get 60 people to attend. The audience was a broad cross section of people involved providing online services in the West Australian Government: managers, developers, designers, content producers and people who had multiple roles, as well as a small number of lecturers, students and private enterprise people. The feedback forms had an 80% return rate and all was positive.
Fiona who had recently returned from Ireland, must of felt sorry for me or was getting pestered by her old contacts for more events, so on Wednesday OSIG had it’s second event of the new season, a presentation by Kevin Russell of the Open Source Centre.
The audience was not the typical OSIG crowd, more people that keep the computers running than the online service delivery folk from the previous meeting. The presentation was an a simple introduction to the open source, no surprises for me there. What surprised me was the philoshopy behind the open source centre which is part of DOIR (Department of Industry and Resources). Simply put, it is to encourage the use of open source software in both government and private sector because using open source you are more likely to use local companies and people to configure/develop/maintain the software. And a strong local computer software support industry is good for the economy.
What can the Open Source Centre do for you, well if you are a Western Australian (Government agency, business or private individual) and contemplating new software the Open Source Centre can provide you with advice on what open source software is available, provide recommendations, demonstrate software and put you in contact with people to configure/develop/maintain.
What can OSIG do for you, well if are looking for a job in online or IT sector of the WA Government the mailing list is probably the easiest way to find out what is available. If you are work in the online or IT sector of the WA Government or just interested in finding out about forth coming events and with a little bit of luck they should be some over the next few months, subscribe to the mailing list.