June 06, 2003

Oregon Bill Might Be Revived?

A couple of interesting pieces of information came out of the slashdot discussion.

The first was a post from Ken Barber, who was the author of the Oregon bill. He wrote, "You are seeing things exactly as I saw them when I wrote the original bill: I felt that its real power was not in the open source provisions -- those were there to get media attention -- but in the requirements for open standards."

The second was a post from someone who said that "reliable" sources have told him/her that the Oregon bill might be revived by swapping the text of it into another bill. The bill that is supposed to be the host for this zombie-like process, Senate Bill 589, is a completely unrelated bill aimed at establishing the "Buy Oregon" Policy Council.

The Oregon legislature, I discovered while looking into this, meets only every two years, for about six months (as opposed to, say, the Washington legislature, which meets every year for about three months). Thus, it appears that if no open source or open data format legislature is passed this year, it will be 2005 before anything else can be done. This is unfortunate since I was hoping to work on open data format legislation for consideration in Oregon next year. However, as I have written, and as Ken Barber indicated, the current "open source" bill being considered in Oregon is really more of an "open data format" law.

Posted by Adam Barr at June 6, 2003 09:11 AM


Oops, accidentally nuked two real comments when cleaning out spam comments:


Instead of puffing out your chests and feeling wonderful about how you're "forcing" the state to do things, how about seeking out allies among the people actually doing the work? In the case of Oregon, for example, open standards is already the law and open source is already widely used.

Open data format is a much more interesting idea, but here, too, you have allies inside government if you'd only ask. Every government has an interest in archiving information and data. Closed formats, whether of data files or of tape media, interfere with this function. In Oregon, the Secretary of State's office is responsible for archiving rules and enforcement. Talk to them or the corresponding office in your jurisdiction.

That is, if this is not merely an exercise in hype.
Posted by: Ray Robert at June 18, 2003 11:20 AM


No, not just an exercise in hype! I agree with what you write; if you are interested, I encourage you to join the mailing list (although there is a lot of traffic). We are trying to get everyone involved, including people inside government who I agree should be our allies in this.

I would love to work with someone in my jurisdiction, but unfortunately I live in the same Washington state district as Microsoft's main campus, and I don't think politically it would work here, at least not as the first case.

So the plan with ODFI is first to work out what a sample bill should look like, then try to find at least one state legislator who is interested in supporting it. Oregon would be a great place to do this.

If you have any details on open standards being the law in Oregon, please share them. Thanks.

- adam
Posted by: Adam Barr at June 18, 2003 01:21 PM

Posted by: Adam Barr at June 5, 2004 09:12 PM