ITWeb Conference June06 Open Source for Local Government
Open source as a strategy for
Chief Information Office (CIO)
City of Cape Town
• The Context – Why OSS
• Government’s Position
• Why OSS for Local Gov?
– International case studies
– Economic Model (LED)
• OSS in City of Cape Town
• The OSS Competency
• Some thoughts on options
for the future
Context – Why OSS
• Developing countries position
• African Position
• South African position
• Main driver:
– Move from a consumer of technology products to a
creator and exporter of technology products
– In the information society context, this means freedom
Why OSS? - Motivation that Points towards a Greater
Role for Open Source
• We need to make sure we have a choice in software
Choice and (monopoly is bad for the customer).
Empowerment • We need to be able to easily customize and enhance
software when we want (especially localisation).
• Much of our software is imported. How do we meet
Develop Local our own requirements and even export?
Industry + Skills • Let's try to do as much as possible locally – support,
enhancement, design, development.
• We need to trust the software we use.
• We need to reduce our dependence on foreign
software and skills, especially in critical areas.
• Can we reduce the amount we spend on software?
Financial • Can we buy more software and services from South
Benefits Africa/ Africa, so the money stays in our own
Government’s Commitment to OSS
OSS in Government
• Lots of talk and commitments, however ….
• Concern that the national programmes seems to be
oriented towards research and demonstration projects
rather than projects that really impact upon service delivery.
• Too much focus on desktops rather than looking at niche
areas and what makes business sense.
• Also don’t see real commitment from SITA (as the procurer
of government ICT) and other large government
• Funding and resources seem to follow national initiatives
• So, why should Local Government be committed?
Open source appropriate for LG?
I believe that it is appropriate not only for LG, but for the ICT industry
• Low levels of computerisation outside Metros
– Eg. Western Cape range from <50 to 500 PCs (note: Metro 12500)
• Benefits of ICT (computerisation and networked based
• Need to start and gain successes to see benefits
– It is a process eg. Cape Town’s evolution
• However, issues are:
– Lack of funding
– Lack of staff (appropriate numbers and skills)
– Lack of local support
– Pressures for LED (Local Economic Development)
• These are the ideal conditions for an active OSS strategy
• Terneuzen is a city in the south-western Netherlands with
about 500 workstations.
• “open source is not a choice between all or nothing”
– Hybrid solutions, using both open source and closed source
software, are more realistic. With open source software Terneuzen
has been able to realize high quality applications with relatively low
investments, since there were no license costs involved.
• Financially the municipality Terneuzen has had a lot of
benefit from open source software. It is estimated that the
municipality saved between 300 and 400 thousand euros
so far by using open source software.
• “every governmental organization should use open source
software in one way or another” - Ad Koster, Systems Manager
Examples of where Open Source is being used
Infrastructure - Linking the main location with the sub locations is done with Linux-
Mailservers - For sending and receiving external e-mail a so-called mailrelay-server
has been created that is based on Sendmail and runs on Linux. On this mailrelay-
server spam filtering takes place using SpamAssassin, and virus scanning using
Proxy servers and firewalls - To enable a controlled internet access a squid proxy-
server is used. This proxy server is provided with DansGuardian for content-
filtering, with DansGuardian adapted in such a way that the internet content is
being scanned for known viruses with virus scanner Clamav.
Firewalling - a combination of OpenBSD and Linux is used.
Remote acces - To enable system managers to perform tasks from external
locations a VPN solution based on IPSEC has been realised using FreeSwan/
OpenSwan. In addition, OpenVPN is used.
File- and printserving - Samba is used for file- and print serving for windows-
Intranet - The intranet server at Terneuzen uses Linux as control system, Apache
as web server, completed with MySQL as database server and PHP as scripting
Management applications - For monitoring servers, network components and so
on, open source applications such as Nagios, NTOP and MRTG are in use.
Belgian City of Schoten
Used Software Function
Schoten is a municipality located in the
Belgian province of Antwerp. The IT intranet +
environment consists of twenty servers. At extranet
the client side there are 200 desktop or
Used Software Function
Suse Pro 10, Suse LES Operating
Owl Knowledge base
9, Fedora Core 4 System
Apache Web server
Samba File server SugarCRM
Cups Print server
Asterisk VoIP telephony
Squid Proxy server
Squidguard Web filtering firewall
Spamassassin anti-spam server SSL Explorer ssl vpn solution
Clamav Anti-virus Intrusion
OpenOffice text, spreadsheet
Some of the other EU local governments that
have open source projects
Polish City of Gdańsk
City of Amsterdam
German City of Schwäbisch Hall
City of Salzburg
Borough of Camden
The Economic Model
• Lets take a municipality of 400 computers
• Lets look at OSS for
– Desktop, email, file and print, Intranet, Internet, Proxy, Anti-virus,
Groupware, Content and Knowledge Management (incl. Document
Management), firewall, VPN, PBX (Asterisk)
• Propriety software cost for this solution is a minimum of R1.32 Million
per annum (will not go into the details of the calculation here) – before
installation and hardware
• For this cost, I can hire 1 Project Manager (R360K), 2 Analaysts/ Sen.
Technical resources (R240K each) and 4 Technicians (R120K each) i.e
a DEDICATED team of 6.
• On a propriety solution, that money would have gone out of the
community. I would still have to pay for installation, hardware, etc.
• In addition, I would have to pay for ongoing support, which in many
municipalities, is flown/ driven in.
Open Source Projects within the City (1)
• City is running some of the largest open source projects
that we are aware of in this country.
• Smart Cape Access Project
– Currently over 540 open source desktops, 110 servers distributed
across 100 sites. Open Source Applications developed for
management, email, etc.
– With Clinics and youth centres, this can double
• Library Standardisation Project
– Back end systems
• Need a replacement for current outdated Library Management System
provided by SITA
• Idea opportunity for partnership between SITA and City
– Between 500 – 600 desktops used for administrative purposes
Open Source Projects within the City (2)
• Clinics Patient Management System (primary health care).
– Back end systems
• Development completed. Currently in testing phase
• Concern that Provincial Govt. seems to be going in another direction.
• And SITA and National going in another
– Between 200 – 300 desktops
– VoIP and open source PBX (Asterisk)
• At the end of these 3 projects, will have approx 1300 OSS desktops
(although desktops are not a focus)
• Porting Existing IBM AIX and Solaris Unix servers to Open Source
Linux (Oracle Applications)
• Implementation of an Open Source Content Management System (in
conjunction with Smart Cape) to develop local content (Typo3)
Open Source Projects within the City (3)
• Utilising Free and Open Source Software within the administration to
enhance the existing installation eg. Network Management Tools,
Proxy, Firewall, PDFCreator, GIMP – demos quality & value
• Developing a comprehensive training offering – with will include OSS
– Within the Administration – beginners, intermediate and advanced
– Public – basic training on OSS Software
– Learnerships/ technical skills development
• Refurbishment Centre – producing refurbished OSS PCs for community
initiatives, CBOs and NGOs (future) and public? Cheaper connectivity?
• Evaluating platforms like Mono.Net and considering Open Source GIS
• Building a comprehensive business case for the implementation of OSS
Desktops in selected areas.
Summary: We are currently using OSS in the City
for (together with our other propriety software):
• File and print
• Network Management
• Infrastructure Management
• Spam filtering
• Open source PBX (telephony)
• Content Management
• Systems Development
• Knowledge Management
• Project Management
• Network based Team Collaboration
• Performance Management
• And a whole range of custom developed applications for
municipal use – traffic, SCADA systems, Housing Waiting
lists, Community Facilities management, etc. – could build
a community that adds value to municipalities, and
develops skills and job opportunities in local communities.
The OSS Competency Centre
• The intent is to establish an Open Source Competency
Centre within the City with the key projects mentioned in
previous 2 slides as anchor projects for the CC
– Key goal of the centre is to nurture and further develop the OSS
competency within the city.
– Aim to position South Africa as a leading centre for the provision of
OSS skills into Africa.
– The centre must be seen as a reference centre
– The centre will focus on research, development, implementation and
– Will work with a variety of partners – local, national and international
• We would like to see this grow into a Municipal OSS
Competency Centre that serve the needs of LG
Proposed Municipal Open-Source Project
• I would like to invite interested municipalities to participate in a joint
project to fill in the information gap about open-source technologies.
• Many municipalities today lack a clear rationale for deciding whether
open-source technologies would be beneficial to their operations.
I propose creating an informal group of interested municipalities to
conduct a joint project to develop an open-source strategic and
• It would guide municipalities in deciding whether a business case
existed for the implementation of open-source technologies and in
which areas it would make sense.
• Any municipality seeking participation in the project or the OSS
competency Centre should contact me at
• There is still a way to go.
• The City of Cape Town is committed to OSS & innovation
• We see huge opportunities in the OSS space
• The Open Source Competency Centre is our response i.e.
“putting our money where our mouths are”
• We would like to work with the industry and other partners –
but this is not about freebies
• Think about what value you can bring to the table by
partnering with us.
• We would like to see a bit more excitement and energy
Let us work together
for a better country