Last year I learnt about software forges in MSWL Project Management subject, and I thought it was a very interesting idea to have all the information and workflows associated to a software project in a website infrastructure.
Searching a bit about forges in or for Public Administrations, I learned that there was a place called OSOR.eu, with a software forge for free software interesting for public administrations in the European Union, and also including a federated system of forges with a search engine, so you could find and reach repositories of projects hosted for example in RedIRIS or Guadalinex forge (or many other public forges), without leaving the site OSOR.eu.
I signed up in the websie, in part for curiosity, in part to learn better how it worked (maybe some day our school or University decides to liberate the software developed inside and it would be less problematic to use a public, existing service, than build a particular forge in our servers. Yes, I am a lazy sysadmin… and a dreamer).
I learnt that OSOR.eu was maintained by Libresoft and kept trace of it following my classmate Luis Cañas’ identi.ca (last june he made an interesting presentation in class about this topic). I became a lurker user of OSOR.eu, receiving from time to time a newsletter about libre software news in countries belonging to the European Union.
Last september I received an email from OSOR explaining about the future migration to a new service called JOINUP.EU:
“The Commission is about to launch a new service which will integrate the SEMIC and OSOR platforms and provide a range of new and improved services to the EU’s eGovernment, semantic asset and open source community repository.”
I did not visited the platform in a long time (my dream about liberating software developed at our University, and using this high quality service, is still a dream). Some weeks ago I attended to a talk by Roberto Andradas, one of the OSOR sysadmins, and then I went back to Joinup to see a little more.
It is a pity that the site is only in English (most of the EU sites are translated to many European languages). For me no problem, but maybe there are still people in some public administrations (local, specially) that they don’t know other language than their mother language, or maybe they know French instead of English. On the other side, the information about software projects is taken “as-is” from the original forge, so for example for many Spanish projects you can find mixed information in English and in Spanish (I suppose that for the software developed in other countries it may be the same).
Language barriers apart, I think that the platform has very valuable aspects that I can use or contribute to, despite not being a software developer nor a Public Administration:
- It is possible to recommend the software that I use
- I can promote the platform in my environments (better to use the provided infrastructure than building a small, local forge)
- I can learn with the methodology documentation that is in the website: Case studies and guidelines
- If translation efforts are required, I can contribute
- I can make suggestions
So I think it worths to come back to JoinUP in the near future to look around a little bit more and contribute to improve this public platform, belonging to all the European citizens (and payed with our taxes😉