Colorado readies open-source e-govt system

The possibilities for cheap global collaboration represent "the beauty of open source", according to the project manager leading the move.

A number of local government organizations in the U.S. state of Colorado are collaborating on an open-source e-government system, with the first site due to go live in the Spring.

Kent Morrison, the manager of information systems in Steamboat Springs and the manager of this project, told ZDNet UK in an interview published on Monday that beta e-government sites have already been developed for Steamboat Springs, as well as Craig and Moffat Counties, which are all in north-west Colorado. The Steamboat Springs site is due to go live on May 1, with the other two sites going public during the summer.

The egovernment system is based on open-source content-management product Typo3 and runs on the LAMP stack.

The e-government system will eventually offer the same services as are provided by town halls or county court houses, such as paying for a parking ticket or registering a dog.

Morrison said Steamboat Springs has made the source code of the system freely available on the project Web site and hopes to get other organizations involved, who can contribute additional modules to the project.

"We would love to have other organizations using the product. For example, if a small rural community in Australia implemented the system and added an animal registration module, they could contribute that module back to the project and everyone else could use it," said Morrison in the interview. "That's the beauty of using public money to develop open source software. We're very grateful that our elected officials realise that's true and gave us some money to develop it."

Morrison also spoke about Steamboat Springs' migration to open source on the desktop and server in the interview.