Anyone that comes to Free Range Longmont is reaping the benefits of Open Source Software. We run our site using WordPress, a team-built program. The source for WordPress is freely available on the web – the catch is that you contribute to the project if you can, either in money or services (like writing plugins). One of the great things about WordPress is that when a bug or a vulnerability is found, in a matter of days a fix can be written by any of the team – or any member of the public. That’s the beauty of real-time transparency.
The open source model includes the concept of concurrent yet different agendas and differing approaches in production, in contrast with more centralized models of development such as those typically used in commercial software companies. A main principle and practice of open source software development is peer production by bartering and collaboration, with the end-product, source-material, “blueprints” and documentation available at no cost to the public. This is increasingly being applied in other fields of endeavor, such as biotechnology.
A problem comes up, everyone sees it, it gets fixed. Wouldn’t it be great if government ran that well? You could still have your differences but they’d be honest differences, not secret schemes.
So the agendas could still be there – but now we’d know who was behind them.
Fundraising While Voting Should Be Disclosed in Real Time
From the Sunlight Foundation:
By Lisa Rosenberg on 07/16/10 @ 11:37 am
The New York Times reported yesterday about a bold and far-reaching investigation underway by the Office of Congressional Ethics that looks into what most consider business as usual in Washington—lawmakers asking for and receiving contributions from the industries they are regulating at the time they are voting on laws that impact those industries. In this case, the OCE’s focus is on congressional fundraisers hosted by Wall Street lobbyists and executives immediately prior to crucial votes on the financial reform bill.
Regardless of the outcome of the investigation, to make it easier for future investigators as well as average citizens to establish whether there any links between campaign funding and legislative action, contributions by lobbyists should be electronically reported online, in real time.
Current law requires contributions by lobbyists be reported semi-annually. But a six-month lag time for reporting not only is unnecessary in the digital age, it delays until well after it is meaningful information about money and access and influence in Washington. As Nancy Watzman posted yesterday—and our Party Time database demonstrates—fundraisers often coincide with votes on issues important to the hosts. But current reporting requirements mean that voters often have to wait months for confirmation that campaign contributions and votes coincide.