New Organisation directory tool

Carsten Agger agger at
Thu Jan 23 12:27:21 UTC 2020

Hi Max

Thanks for your response! I'd like to clarify a bit to explain the
nature of the collaborations in municipal free software development here
in DK - it's actually quite interesting:

On 1/10/20 10:20 AM, Max Mehl wrote:
>> Basically, it's about something as bureaucratic as maintaining
>> authoritative organisation hierarchies, e.g. for local authorities
>> (which the tools was specifically made to support). Ideally, all
>> onboarding etc. of new staff could be done in this tool with
>> integrations in place to allow automatic access to other systems the
>> employees would need. Or, as it says in the article:
> Thanks for sharing, and congratulations! I find this very interesting
> and relevant, as it is another example for ready tools that
> organisations like administrations can use, study, share, and improve.
> In particular, I am happy about the following:
>   "OS2 already involves 66 of the country’s 98 municipalities, and 35 IT
>   services providers. 'OS2mo could grow to become a standard
>   application, because it delivers a common service that all public
>   organisations in Denmark need,' he says.
>   According to Mr Thirifays, the software can even be adapted to other
>   countries. 'It can already be used as a standalone tool, helping
>   public services, companies, or NGOs keep their address book and access
>   directory up to date.'"
> The fact that it is supported by a wide range of companies and
> administrations, and the ability to be adapted by other players as well
> is a good indicator for its re-usability, which is a key asset for Free
> Software projects.
It's important to distinguish between OS2 and our product OS2MO. OS2 is
a collaboration between 66 municipalities, as the article states, and
the idea is that the municipalities pool together their resources to
create software they all need. Since this is always released as free
software (normally the MPL, but this varies - some of the projects are
under e.g. GPL3), the software is then available for all of them free of
charge; of course, with a price tag depending of the TCO of operating it
themselves or asking one of the associated vendors to do it.

All OS2 projects have a name that starts with "os2" and is described on
this page:

(alas, only in Danish - there is an introduction in English here:

I think the collaboration originated in TING, which is/was a
Drupal-bases CMS package with many customizations made and used by a
large number of public libraries. Some OS2 products have been developed
in-house in the municipalities, others have been procured with external
vendors like my own company.

My company has developed and/or worked with a number of these products, e.g.

* OS2datascanner, a web and file system scanner to detect GDPR and other
privacy violations (originally the use case was to detect possible
leaking of citizen's confidential data to municipal web sites, which
increasingly contain vast amounts of data)

* OS2borgerpc, which I presented at FOSDEM in 2014, when it was still
called BibOS - a GNU/Linux based OS for public-facing PCs in libraries
and municipal offices, with a central admin system to control and update

* OS2display, a system for controlling info screens in public libraries
and other places, also based on GNU/Linux and with central management
(but the OS is controlled by os2borgerpc). This product was created by
the municipality of Aarhus, but they asked us to take over the
governance and development and sales to other municipalities as it's not
really their line of work.

* OS2bos, a very new system for appropriation of funds for caseworkers
in social services (specifically child protection services). This system
just went into production in December!

So all of the 66 municipalities are not involved in OS2MO, but in
somewhere between zero and many of these products. I should also add
that while this model and idea is really wonderful, there are drawbacks.
OS2, the coordinating organization, has very few resources - a
coordinator and a few employees to help which are donated by some of the
larger municipalities. (Thus, the coordinator is formally employed by
the municipality of Aarhus.)

OS2 does not have funds to maintain these systems, so maintenance is
paid by the procuring municipalities. And there is a - let's say,
spectrum - of willingness to invest; thus, the municipality of Ballerup
are completely committed to the concept of  "open source" as a rational
digitization tool, and they are a /really/ big customer of ours and have
also really been reaping the benefits and savings of their investments.
A few others are "big players" that help a lot of free software into
being. Other participating municipal have a tendency to sit on the fence
and wait for others to create the software and then latch onto it when
it becomes available.  This is compensated by "enrollment plans" for
municipalities that want to join the "common track" deployment instead
of rolling their own from the source code, which can be demanding for a
small organization. But it can be complicated. :-)

And, it is also the OS2 collaboration, and not the specific product,
that has 35 associated service providers.

So, OS2MO is currently being deployed to 16 municipalities in Denmark,
and as the article states, ideally it can be used to onboarding and
offoarding of staff in these organizations, with integrations to
directories and other systems to automatically give user access to
relevant IT systems (most of which are proprietary in these landscapes).
But we do hope more will jump on the bandwagon, and I know of at least
one other vendor who's very interested in providing this system. So
we're very definitely going in the right direction, and the whole OS2
collaboration is one of the most interesting free software related
things to happen in Denmark in the last decade.



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