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"Zimbra"; a FOSS based mail server deployed at the Ministry of Education By Wasantha Deshapriya and Niel Gunadasa
( 1 Vote )

Ministry of Education consist of 5 divisions and about 60 Branches /Unites which distributed in 6 floors. More than 800 staff grade and supportive service officers (excluding minor staff) serving under the said divisions. Among this staff about 200 are staff grade officers. This staff, specially staff grade officers used generic e-mail service providers such as gmail, yahoo, hotmail etc for their official communication. Although Ministry had an e-mail server previously, it became obsolete by the time due to Spam problem and problems with the nomenclature of the accounts.  Furthermore , it was later realized that the nomenclature used for email accounts was not compatible with eGovernment policy compliances.

The use of such e-mail systems cause the following problems.

  • Difficult to ensure validity and acceptability
  • Not conforming to eGovernment policy
  • Difficult to ensure the security in communication
  • Inability to incorporate with identity and uniqueness of the Ministry

The ministry explored some options and after analyzing the cost benefits of such systems, Moe requested the assistance of Information and Communication Technology Agency to accomplish the task of providing a low cost but secure and user friendly email system. Having analyzed few possible email options for MoE the staff of the ICTA and ICT Branch of Ministry of Education selected Zimbra as the mail  solution for MoE.

Why Zimbra?

  • It is cost effective. The software can be freely down-loadable and cost is required only for installation, services and maintenances.
  • Ability to use in most computer platforms (operating systems)
  • Ability to customize according to the requirement of the Ministry
  • Specific advanced options such as  sharing calendars, meeting reminders, briefcase, auto reply
  • After installation it is easy to maintain and expand the service
  • Easy to incorporate as a mobile e-mail solution
  • User friendly interface
  • Social networking features are inbuilt
Little by little Open Source increases its government...
( 1 Vote )

The UK Cabinet Office has sanctioned Bristol City Council's use of open source software alongside its existing Microsoft software as part of an ongoing review of its desktop and emails systems.  Bristol originally announced its intentions in September 2010 but ran into a roadblock when it was discovered that only three email systems -- Lotus Notes, Novell Groupwise, and Microsoft Exchange -- are certified by CESG the cybersecurity arm of the UK intelligence services.  Using an unaccredited system could mean that Bristol City Council might fall afoul of security rules and be unable to process sensitive personal data and restricted government information.

However, at a meeting held on October 7 the Council was advised by Cabinet Office executives including Liam Maxwell, Director of ICT Futures and Bill McCluggage, Director of ICT policy that no security or accreditation issues exist that would prevent the evaluation and potential deployment of open source systems by the Council.  (http://bristolfutures.posterous.com/open-source-leadership-25814)

Even before the economic crisis consideration was being given to the economic benefits of using Open Source, but in recent months the noise surrounding this has become louder. Like a number of other coutnries in Europe, the UK has previously committed to using open source technologies, to using more smaller technology suppliers and as Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude said in March "to end the oligopoly of big business supplying government IT by breaking down cotnracts into smaller, more flexible projects."

It must be said, however that a recent Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the BBC found that most government departments still spend the majority of their IT budgets on software from the larger suppliers.  Perhaps the publicity given to the Bristol City Council case will motivate others to undertake a comparison between the various options.

FOSSUser October issue out
( 1 Vote )

FOSSUser which aims to educate Sri Lankan FOSS community on what is going on in FOSS ecosystem has released their October issue which has been dedicated to Dennis Ritchie who is the creator of C programme language and many more.

Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie (September 9, 1941 – October 8, 2011) was an American computer scientist notable for developing C and for having influence on other programming languages, as well as operating systems such as Multics and Unix. He received the Turing Award in 1983 and the National Medal of Technology 1998 on April 21, 1999. Ritchie was the head of Lucent Technologies System Software Research Department when he retired in 2007

ePay of SL Post wins the best FOSS application contest
( 1 Vote )

Mr. R.Athiththan receives the award  by Mr. Wasantha Deshapriya, Director, Re-engineering Government Programme of ICTA

ePay automation system of the Department of Posts wins the Competition on Best Government Open Source Productivity tools and Applications conducted parallel to the FOSS4Gov conference held on 3th September 2011. The objective of the competition was to recognize and reward for the talent and creativity of government officers and thereby promoting the use of open source products while increasing the usage and awareness on open source software in public sector.

ePay automation system has been internally developed by the ICT officers to automate the payments captured at postal outlets. System is integrated with a Electronic Money Transfer Module and the system is in operation since January 2010. Currently system is used at 617 postal outlets island wide and nearly handles around 32,000 customers, 34,000 transactions worth of approximately Rs 43.5 million per day. The development team is planning to enhance the system to connect all sub post offices in Sri Lanka (3,500 outlets).

e-Pay was shortlisted for the World Mail Awards from Sri Lanka and it won the Most Commended Award at the World Mail Awards 2011, Brussels  under the Retail Projects category (http://www.mailawards.com/555/winners/retail-project/).


iParliament wins the First Runner Up Award

Mr. Mahesh Perera receives the award  by Mr. Wasantha Deshapriya, Director, Re-engineering Government Programme of ICTA

The Intranet Web Portal (also known as iParliament) of the Parliament of Sri Lanka became the 1st Runner-Up of the competition. It is an integrated approach to core activities in the Parliament and it has automated many functions in the the Parliament Secretariat. This in-house developed solution serves to different user categories to cater to the diverse information needs, including Members of Parliament, Management and Staff of the Parliament Secretariat. The main intention of the solution is to increase the transparency accountability, accessibility and effectiveness utilizing ICT. The system is being enhanced to serve more areas.

LMI website wins the Second Runner Up Award

Mr. M.P.S Wijesinha receives the award  by Mr. Wasantha Deshapriya, Director, Re-engineering Government Programme of ICTA

The Labour Market Information website of the Department of Manpower and Employment became the 2nd Runner-Up. It is the key approach of disseminating the labour market information collected and analyzed by the Manpower Planning, Development and Research Division of the Department of Manpower and Employment. This provides both history and present information with figures and charts. The information is useful for both government and private sector organizations, researchers and students.

Using Foss4gov Opportunities For Epoch-Making Change For The Better
( 0 Votes )

Free and open source software for Government (FOSS4Gov) is impregnated with vast opportunities for epoch-making change for the better. Healthy intervention by the appropriate authority will greatly help in optimizing the benefits of free and open source software and making it reach the people to the maximum. This is comparable to that of a well-meaning and far-sighted patent who is concerned about the common and optimum good of the whole family.

Spending of excessive money could be avoided and better values availed of if the relevant authorities make timely intervention to increase the use of FOSS4Gov. Awareness must be created whereby users are made aware of all the choices available.

These words reflect the opinions of experts who addressed the subject “Free and open source software” for Government at the GOSS4Gov national workshop held at Hotel Taj Samudra Colombo, last week.

The keynote address at the conference was delivered by Senior Lecturer School of Computing Colombo University, Dr. Ruwan Weerasinghe. Taking the audience to the Gettysburg address of Abraham Lincoln, the don urged the top Government officials present to test technology in hand with an adapted version of the three-pronged definition of democracy. The version of the former US President’s definition of democracy adapted to technology and in the current case, FOSS4Gov was “Technology of the people, by the people for the people”. Spelling out the adaptation further, the Senior Lecturer made the audiences pose three questions. Is the technology in hand relevant to the majority? Is it created by a majority? Is it accessible by a majority from the point of view of cost, language etc?

The ICT Agency of Sri Lanka’s Senior Technology Officer, Sanjaya Karunasena put FOSS in the perspective of an enterprise. FOSS gives the user freedom to run the programme concerned ; it gives freedom to study how the programme works (access to the source code), freedom to redistribute copies and freedom to improve the programme and  release your improvement.

The workshop organized by ICTA whetted the interest of the audience and gave them an experience that made them aware of the important role to play in bringing about a change by the use of FOSS4Gov.

ICTA Legal Advisor and Programme Director Jayantha Fernando, ICTA Re-engineering Government Programme Director Wasantha Deshapriya and several other experts too addressed the workshop.

Further information could be obtained from www.icta.lk


Source: www.icta.lk

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