Civic Innovations

Technology, Government Innovation, and Open Data

Open Source Leadership in the First State

If you visit the State of Delaware’s official web page, you will find that the state is making use of the open source blogging software WordPress. There are (for now) a small collection of WordPress-based blogs set up as subdomains on the state’s official .gov domain. Although there are other state government entities making use of open source blogging and CMS software, I’m not aware of any that are setting up blog sites under their official .gov domains; except Delaware.

The flagship state blog in Delaware that uses open source software is that of Lt. Governor Matt Denn. Matt is no stranger to open source software. I worked closely with his campaign last year, and suggested that he migrate his then existing blog (which used Google’s Blogger service) into a full blown campaign website that uses WordPress. Matt and his team were eager to hear suggestions on open source tools, and when they were looking for a donor-management tool that could help track donations, fundraising campaigns and generate finance reports, I suggested Drupal and CiviCRM. These tools made it cost effective and easy to manage donations and generate reports.

It is heartening to see Matt expand on this initial use of open source software during his campaign into his official role as Lt. Governor. This underscores (in my mind) why it is so important for open source advocates to reach out to up and coming candidates, to introduce them to the power and benefits of open source software before getting in to office, so that they can become advocates for it when they are elected.

Delaware is now a national leader in embracing open source software as part of its official state web presence. Lt. Governor Matt Denn deserves the credit for leading the charge on this.

Here’s hoping that more state government officials follow his lead and embrace open source solutions.

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About Me

I am the former Chief Data Officer for the City of Philadelphia. I also served as Director of Government Relations at Code for America, and as Director of the State of Delaware’s Government Information Center. For about six years, I served in the General Services Administration’s Technology Transformation Services (TTS), and helped pioneer their work with state and local governments. I also led platform evangelism efforts for TTS’ cloud platform, which supports over 30 critical federal agency systems.

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