‘Code for America’ Programmers to Work in City Governments

Four cities will each receive a team of five open source Web programmers for 11 months, as selected by Code for America, a new nonprofit that’s pairing Web geeks with city governments.

The selected cities were Boston, Seattle, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Each city paid $250,000 to participate, which included submitting applications and proposals for what they wanted from a team of fellows.

Code for America recently announced its 20 fellows for 2011, chosen from among 360 applicants. The fellows will work mostly from Code for America’s San Francisco headquarters; the programmers will spend February of next year at the actual local governments they’ll be serving.

Really cool stuff. Can’t wait to see what comes out of this in Seattle.

Open Source Could Have Saved Ontario Hundreds of Millions | Slashdot

The McMaster University researchers claim their system could be rolled out for two percent of the billion-dollars-plus already spent on the project. The report itself (PDF) also makes note of the excessive consultation spending: “By 2008, the Ministry’s eHealth Program Branch had fewer than 30 full-time employees but was engaging more than 300 consultants, a number of whom held senior management positions.”

Hopefully more and more of these studies will be done on big projects and over time people will learn to at least strongly consider open source options. Especially when taxpayer money is involved it seems flat-out wrong to not investigate the potential savings offered by open source.