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Madison Open Technology Group

The name has not been set yet, but I figured I should go ahead and blog about it and my relationship to it.

I am starting this organization in response to what I see as a gap in the Madison, WI area and indeed a gap everywhere.  Linux User Groups are the general champions of FOSS, but there’s a load of FOSS being pronounced for non-FOSS platforms and things like open standards and formats don’t really fall well into the scope of a LUG.  At UNC-Chapel Hill, Cristobal Palmer and I, with the help of Paul Jones and Kevin Otte, started the Carolina Open Source Initiative, which sought to be a broad organization doing many things, but particularly helping Windows users (the bulk of the campus community) move to FOSS; Firefox, GIMP, Pidgin, OOo, whatever.  We had the pipedream that maybe they’d become Linux users.

There are plenty of good things for openness that can happen on closed platforms such as Apple or Windows.  Apple could start support .ogg for instance and MS Office is already supposed to support odt in their next version (though maybe I dreamed that since I can’t find a citation for it at the moment).

So, as some of you may know, I work at a proprietary software company.  Clearly I keep my work and my personal life separate on this count, but I do want to point out a couple things.

1) My employer is spearheading patient access to medical information (with doctor approval).  You might not personally care, but I find it hard to believe you could argue this is a bad thing, unless you are paranoid.

2) My employer is spearheading open standards for cross communication of data across systems.  Meaning that if you are allergic to X to the point it will kill you and you are going to hospital Y 1000 miles from where you live, hospital Y can get the needed information from hospital Z in your home town.  I can’t see how you could argue that this is a bad thing, unless you are ultra sensitive to security issues.

When I get a name finalized I’ll post it and the facebook group that will be made for it.

EDIT: Here’s the facebook group – http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=37858132400