Open Source Ambassador
Peter Harrison (external link)
Open Source Contributor
Chris Cormack (external link)
Open Source Software Project
New Zealand Open GPS (external link)
Open Source Use in Government
State Services Commission (ICT Branch) (external link)
Open Source Use in Business
Zoomin/ProjectX (external link)
Open Source Use in Education
New Zealand Summer of Code (external link)
Open Source Use for Community Organisations
Vet Learn (external link)
Open Source for Creativity
Select Parks (external link)
New Zealand Open Source Society Special Award
Michael Koziarski (external link)
Lynne has been active in the open source world for many years and has been an integral part of the leadership of many projects. She is probably most widely known for setting up the Disaster Search website in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The site enabled thousands of families to be reunited, and Lynne has already received an award from the US Ambassador for what is an outstanding use of open source technologies in extraordinary circumstances. Lynne has been actively involved in the Mambo project for several years and is the author of an extensive manual of this CMS. She also created and maintains OS Projects - a site that collects in one place information about open source. Lynne’s work has had a real, direct and positive impact on the lives of many, both in the open source community and beyond.
Waikato Linux Users Group
Linux User Groups or LUGs have done much to spread the word and enthusiasm about open source for many years and in many countries. Providing a valuable forum for grassroots open source hackers and users to get together and share their knowledge. Waikato LUG is one of the most active in the country, thanks in large measure to its core group of committee members, past and present. The LUG has been active in organising Software Freedom Day in the Hamilton area - an annual event to raise awareness of open source, handing out over 500 CDs of free software in busy shopping malls and showing Linux to passers by, probably for the first time. Members of Waitako LUG are actively involved in numerous open source projects from the Linux Kernel to PHPwiki. The LUGs and Waikato in particular have introduced hundreds and thousands of people to the open source ethos and helped create grassroots advocacy of this approach.
Peter Harrison (Winner)
Peter Harrison not only proposed and founded the New Zealand Open Source Society in 2002, he presided over its growth and establishment until 2007. Peter’s virtues and achievements are many, and certainly worthy of recognition at these awards. Peter has been the voice of the Society in the media for the last five years. He has established a close and productive relationship with key media people, and has often been called on to give the open source viewpoint within New Zealand mainstream media. He has done so both effectively and consistently - a not-inconsiderable achievement in itself. Most recently Peter has spoken out on the Copyright (New Technologies and Performers’ Rights) Amendment Bill and has fiercely opposed wide-ranging patent applications that potentially stifle open source innovation. As President of the Open Source Society he has always dealt even-handedly with often quite differing views in the continued debate around many issues of concern to open source advocates.
Koha is a library management system originally written by Chris Cormack way back in 1999. It is used by 100s of libraries worldwide and has over 40 active developers. Koha is also now based in the States as part of a stable of products from open source library provider Liblime. Koha enjoys strong support from the libraries here in New Zealand that contributed to Koha’s development, and continue to use it to this day. Horowhenua Library Trust in particular were early to recognise Koha’s strengths.
Gerris Flow Solver
Gerris Flow Solver is a very different software project but one in use around the world by scientists and engineers working in the field of fluid dynamics. It stands out in this field as an open source offering amongst a number of strong commercial packages, providing anyone with the curiosity and enthusiasm to explore fluid behaviours with a rich toolset. Its modular design means Gerris will continue to expand with a growing community of developers continuing to improve the core product. Gerris is the work of Stephanie Popinet of NIWA in Wellington and it attracted a significant number of nominations from grateful and enthusiastic users both here and overseas.
Weka is another New Zealand open source project to come out of a research environment. In this case Waikato University’s Machine Learning Group. It is a world-class tool for exploring and extracting information from data. And a hugely popular one at that, with some 20-30,000 downloads per month from SourceForge over recent years. According to one nomination from Israel, Weka is the de facto standard in the machine learning community, used not because it is free, but because it is the best.
New Zealand Open GPS (Winner)
Geospatial information is becoming increasingly important for business, government and individuals. Open access to mapping information has not always been easy in New Zealand, but thanks to the efforts of Graeme Williams and his team, anyone in the world now has access to routing maps of New Zealand in a format that can be used on a wide range of GPS units. More significantly, Graeme has build a strong community of mappers who continually improve the quality and accuracy of the maps he has made available. A very open project and one that a huge number of people can benefit from today and in the future.
State Services Commission (ICT Branch) (Winner)
The work that the Commission has done through the E-government Programme has been - and continues to be - noticed overseas. Significantly the nomination to these Awards came from Malaysia, a country that has embraced open source at many levels of government. The Commission is recognised not only for giving clear guidance to agencies to consider open source alongside commercial software in their procurement processes, but also for putting that guidance into practice itself particularly with the use and reuse of a web standards compliant version of Plone, which is now being used by several agencies.
Electoral Enrolment Centre
Maintaining a definitive record of everyone eligible to vote at any given point in time is not only a fundamental role in our system of democracy, but also no small technical and business challenge. The Electoral Enrolment Centre has since 2003 operated on an entirely open source platform - from Debian-based servers, VPNs, firewalls, mail servers and clients, databases (postgres), database replication, web servers (Apache), public web sites and intranets, call centre interfaces, the management applications, extensive network, security and application monitoring, all the way through to the Ubuntu/Openoffice based desktop PCs used by the Registrars. Through this, the Centre maintains one of the most accurate rolls in the world, in a cost effective, transparent, robust and secure fashion.
PHARMAC (Schedule Team)
Pharmac distributes the Pharmaceutical Schedule to over 9000 health professions on a regular basis and deals with some 40 million subsidy claims annually. It is - as you might imagine - a complex and extensive document. Having been told by several local printers that automatic typesetting from the Pharmac database was impossible, the Pharmac team looked at commercial options before hitting on a set of open source tools based on TeX, XML and XLink, that have enabled the team to produce both web and print versions of the Schedule in a cost effective and extensible manner. It is a problem that is not unique to Pharmac, and there are some valuable lessons to be learnt from this initiative in other sectors.
Ministry of Social Development (Applications Development Team)
While open source is increasingly visible across the public sector, there is much happening behind the scenes too. Application development at MSD is just one example of an agency making effective use of the taxpayers’ dollar by employing open source toolsets and frameworks for almost all of their in-house development. The Ministry uses a range of tools, from Eclipse to Apache Lucene, hand-picking widely used projects which they find of high quality and which are well supported both commercially and by the community. As the development team has found “there seems to be a correlation between adopters of open source and forward-thinking, ground-breaking organisations and individuals”.
New Zealand Summer of Code (Winner)
Google’s Summer of Code programme gets talented young technologists working on real open source projects. John Clegg of CreativeHQ - inspired by Google’s programme - has been the driving force behind New Zealand’s own Summer of Code. Now in its second year, the New Zealand Summer of Code pairs some of the brightest kiwi developers with some of the most innovative companies - many of which are represented here tonight. A huge amount of organisation and work goes into the Summer of Code by both John and his support team, bringing benefit to both the students and the companies they work for between study.
New Zealand Open Source Virtual Learning Environment
New Zealand has been a world leader in open source online learning thanks to the efforts of the Open Polytechnic and the vision of Flexible Learning’s Richard Wyles. In 2004 the Open Polytechnic launched the first large scale installation of the open source elearning platform Moodle. Chosen as much for its technical features as the strong open source development community behind the project, Moodle has become a yardstick in this field. The NZOSVLE has shown how best to manage a long-term investment in an open source project by feeding innovations back into the core project where they can be managed by the growing community of developers and users of Moodle.
Hagley College of Computing
Hagley College of Computing is run by Hagley Community College in Christchurch. Open source has enabled the College to establish computing courses with minimal funding, while showing the benefits and opportunities further afield. In Josh Campbell’s words “Open Source applications such as Firefox, GIMP, Inkscape and Open Office have recently been ‘leaking out’ into the wider school”. The project has both raised awareness of open source amongst students and given them access to a wider range of options for their computing experience.
Eduforge is an open access environment currently supporting over 180 open source projects in the education space, including several from New Zealand. Now in use by projects around the globe, this New Zealand initiative was born out of the need to manage a growing investment in open source in the tertiary sector. Bringing technologists and educators together with forums, wikis and source code repositories, Eduforge attracts some 1.5 million page views a month and is recognised internationally as a significant strategic initiative in distributed collaboration and the growth of open source and open standards adoption in education.
Upstage is an innovative open source project that brings theatrical performance to any web browser. Upstage is in effect a venue for live performance. It allows anyone in any part of the world to participate in a live performance, and for the audience too to come from all corners of the globe. In something of a return to the very early days of theatre, the audience isn’t passive but rather participates - in this case through chat messaging. Upstage was initiated by Vicki Smith, Leena Saarinen, Karla Ptacek and Helen Varley Jamieson of Avatar Body Collision and programmed by Douglas Bagnell.
Stray Cinema is a unique experiment in film construction that has got a lot of attention here and overseas. Through Michelle Hughes’ work StrayCinema brings the open source ethos to filmmaking. Conceived right here in Wellington, Stray Cinema is to become an annual event, allowing filmmakers to remix open source footage to create new works. StrayCinema’s first outing earlier this year attracted 30 film submissions, with the top five screened at a London event in August. Not only is Stray Cinema encouraging participants to remix one source of footage, but it is a complete journey. The process begins when the film footage is released online. Participants modify the footage, submit their own version on the StrayCinema website, and finally the chosen five are navigated from the online digital world, into the ‘real world’ with the London screening.
Select Parks (Winner)
Julian Oliver and Select Parks have been representing the cutting edge of new media art for the last 10 years. Julian is a New Zealand artist, educator and developer, internationally recognised in new media and is at the forefront of artistic developments using open source game engines, open standards, open formats, and open codecs. Selectparks is a community website founded by Julian that gathers a large community world-wide to investigate and discuss the developments of creative development using open source gaming technologies. Julian’s blog is also an axis point for many in this fast growing community. Julian has made an astonishing impact on the international game art scene, pioneering work with open source technologies such as Blender, and gathering together a community of people that had no previous central axis point.
War Art Online
Archives New Zealand’s War Art Online has been created to make New Zealand’s National Collection of War Art more accessible. Archives NZ now have digital images of over 1,400 of these, taken from photographic transparencies made of the original art works several years ago. The images are displayed using the Drupal open source content management system. Significantly, Archives is using the community elements of Drupal to allow the public to comment on the works, an opportunity speaks well of Archives' commitment to making their holdings available digitally on the web.
NZHistory.Net is another strong nomination from the public sector, again using the open source content management system Drupal. The Ministry of Culture and Heritage was one of the first government departments to adopt open source and NZHistory.Net is a great example of how successful this can be, attracting over 400,000 page views a month. It has served as an example for other departments looking at open source toolsets and the benefits of open APIs, and is a great credit to Jamie Mackay and his team at MCH.
With over 700 media items in 25 languages Access Internet Radio is the most diverse source of on-line voices from Aotearoa/New Zealand. The project started in late 2006, with three Community/Access broadcasters, CityLink as corporate partner and the Digital Strategy Community Partnerships Fund. Access Internet Radio enables local minority groups to broadcast themselves on the Internet (Live Streaming, On-Demand, Pod-Casting). Access Radio’s Media Manager is built on open source technologies and is enabling them to use video with New Zealand’s first sign language programme in May this year.
Within the development community, Michael Koziarski - or Koz - needs no introduction. Based here in Wellington, Koz is known internationally as one of the core developers of Ruby on Rails. Ruby on Rails, which also needs no introduction for developers, is a framework that can build web applications in a matter of minutes not weeks. Rails is the tool of choice for many Web 2.0 startups, including a number in New Zealand, enabling them to very rapidly produce quite complex applications and to remain adaptable as their products mature. Rails is sexy stuff and Koz’s work has put New Zealand on the map in a big way.
Chris Cormack (Winner)
Chris got the library management system Koha off the ground and into 100s of libraries worldwide. He has continued to build a community of developers around Koha to grow the project and add innovative features. Chris is a Perlmonger - a special breed of person - deserving of an Award in their own right!
The judges wanted to recognise Graeme's individual contribution to the New Zealand Open GPS project. Graeme’s enthusiasm and commitment have ignited a community of interest that has seen a need and filled it - the way many open source projects begin, but only the best succeed.
Matthew created the Docvert project to “scratch an itch”. He saw the need for a truly open system to convert Word documents to the sort of HTML that anyone can use, even if they are using assistive technologies. Through his individual efforts any government department or business that wants to put large documents on the web can do so in the way the web is meant to work - using open accessible standards. Docvert is already used by several government departments here in New Zealand and word is spreading fast overseas. Matthew is also making significant contributions to the on-going opposition to OOXML’s adoption by the ISO as a second office document standard, something that has been fiercely debated in many countries of late.
Vet Learn (Winner)
The VetLearn Foundation is a not-for-profit providing continuing education for the New Zealand Veterinary profession. Over 700 students have participated in the Foundation’s VetScholar Programme since it was launched in early 2006 - that’s roughly 20% of the entire profession. In its first year of operation, VetScholar covered all the setup and development costs for the service, which is based on the open source Moodle e-learning platform and OSCommerce. This nomination demonstrates that even small not-for-profits can benefit from this approach, and offer world class capabilities to their constituents.
Citizen Click/ Egressive
Citizen Click and Christchurch-based Egressive teamed up to deliver - in as little as three weeks - a rich Drupal website for the Onehunga Enhancement Society. As Kate Taylor of Citizen Click said in her nomination, “My client is no longer a couple of people with a vision, they are an active group with 200-plus paid up members.” Egressive who are at the centre of an active open source provider network in Christchurch continues to provide enhancements to the site, with plans to feed some of the new features back to the Drupal community
Aotearoa Independent Media Centre
Aotearoa IMC is the local node of the Global Network of Independent Media Centres, more commonly known as Indymedia. Publishing the work of independent/citizen journalists and alternative political debate, the IMC has undergone a couple of technology changes. Most notably, New Zealanders are in the process of migrating the IMC to the open source Drupal platform. Indymedia is committed to a free and open source approach from Linux on the desktop to the use of open standards, to underpin their Principles of Unity.
Julian Priest (Consume/WSF II)
Julian (living in Wanganui) is the founder of London’s Consume network, the first large scale open wireless network in any major international city. Consume was developed using modular nodes which were largely Linux based. Later the network also evolved to include the Hive Networks system which is entirely open source. Julian’s projects always contain an ‘open source’ ideology as well as technology. He is also heavily involved in the World Summits on Free Information Infrastructures.
Zenbu is like the Yellow Pages on steroids. Using mapping and a community-built directory of well over 36,000 places, business and points of interest, Zenbu is already streets ahead of more traditional business directories. Zenbu’s points of interest are feeding into another of our Finalist’s projects - Open GPS - and Zenbu’s growing network of wifi hotspots across the country complete the circle. When you’re in a Zenbu hotspot you can easily find local services like the nearest bank or cafe. And the entire Zenbu project has been developed by just one person: Sam Giffney.
PlanHQ is a project that stands on its own merits - which are considerable. PlanHQ is a world class web 2.0 business - smart, fleet, connected, packaged. It shows that New Zealand IT businesses can and should compete for a global market position with the very best products, using an open source technology that doesn’t stand in the way of rapid adaption and continued innovation.
New Zealand Post/Red Hat
Red Hat and New Zealand Post need no introduction. For an operation the size of Post’s, enterprise-grade support of the kind provided by Red Hat is what’s needed. With growing demands and smaller budgets, IT departments of larger corporations are finding they can do more with less using supported open source solutions. And Post has proven this conclusively with reduced costs across the board and performance boosts that make you wonder why more New Zealand organisations aren’t moving in this direction. Hats off to Red Hat for their support of these Awards and the significant part they play in bringing open source solutions to some of the larger players in New Zealand’s business sector.
Zoomin have been pioneers in online mapping in New Zealand. John Clegg and his team have brought browser-based mapping services to New Zealand that are on a par with those of Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft. Using open source, ProjectX has launched a successful business that delivers Smaps through TradeMe and has over 30 other websites nationwide employing ProjectX mapping. ProjectX has significantly enhanced the kaMap system, which along with Ruby on Rails, PostgreSQL and Mapserver, is the open source technology behind it all - providing some of these improvements back to the core project.
Silverstripe took the bold step of open sourcing an established web content management system, and haven’t looked back since. By making the product open and freely available, they have effectively created a global market for the services they now offer around the core CMS. That means real exports for New Zealand that would never have happened on the same scale with Silverstripe’s origins as a local proprietary system. They also have access to individual developers feeding back into the open source and have caught the eye of Google - providing Summer of Code students to innovate and extend Silverstripe. Expect to see some great things from the team down the track.
Two Special Awards were presented by the New Zealand Open Source Society recognising the exceptional contributions of Michael Koziarski and the impact of the New Zealand Open Source Virtual Learning Environment work spearheaded by the Open Polytechnic.
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