IPcentral Weblog
  The DACA Blog

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

"Rogue Archivist" Carl Malamud On How to Fix Gov2.0
(previous | next)

At yesterday's Gov2.0 Summit conference, "rogue archivist" Carl Malamud gave a great speech about what's wrong with government IT and what should be done about it.

"If our government is to do the jobs with which we have entrusted it, ... the machinery of our government must first be made to work properly."

Malamud describes a government IT landscape that is a "vast wasteland of contracts that lie fallow inside this beltway" because of agency capture by special interests and proposes three steps to fix government IT:

  • Finish the opengov revolution - create and enforce bulk data standards, release more government data using those standards, and update the Freedom of Information Act for the Internet age to require that any data released in response to a FOIA request is also posted online for anyone to access (others have already taken up this cause)
  • Create a National Scanning Initiative - Spend at least $250 million per year (a third of what the Smithsonian currently receives from the Federal government) for a decade to put all of the works housed at the Smithsonian, the National Archives, the Library of Congress, the National Library of Medicine, and the Government Printing Office online
  • Create a Computer Commission with authority to conduct agency-by-agency reviews and change projects from relying on over-designed custom systems to ones based on open-source building blocks and judicious use of commercial off-the-shelf components

O'Reilly's Jim Stogdill believes that Malamud's speech is an implicit recognition that Federal IT projects are just too big for the typical top-down IT development process and the better approach is "structuring incentives, policies, and ecosystems to encourage the complex to emerge from the simple." This approach is basically the Unix philosophy, which is best summarized as "Design programs to do only a single thing, but to do it well, and to work together well with other programs."

One big problem with most government software projects is that they're developed without any thought of having those systems interact with other systems. As a result, data files are typically proprietary and importing and exporting data is impossible. But if federal IT projects were developed more in line with the Unix philosophy, as smaller, modular, interoperable systems, they would be more manageable and problems with a specific component would not jeopardize other systems.

And as Stogdill points out, there are only a few companies able to deal with the complexity of the Federal Aquisition Rules and the scale typical of most government projects. Breaking things into smaller components and open-sourcing the code developed on all new projects will enable many more companies to compete for these contracts.

The Obama administration is the first presidency to have a Chief Information Officer. I only hope he was listening to Malamud's speech.

posted by Adam Marcus @ 1:54 PM | e-Government & Transparency

Share |

Link to this Entry | Printer-Friendly | Email a Comment | Post a Comment(6)


It's a good article! You let me learn more about it! In part time,I always log in the same websites to learn knowledge!Everybody all could communicate on christian dior watches
. If want,please join us!

Posted by: saland at November 16, 2010 11:26 PM

wow, its awesome, i really love this one!

your post suggested a lot more way than i am doing it currently!
thanks for your valuable post

Posted by: custom facebook at September 3, 2013 1:01 AM

A machine delegate among right to guidance operation-by-bureau criticizes further revise tasks from relying on through-created observance computers to persons based on accessible-derivation storehouse prevents besides judicious apply of trade away-the-bank elements

Posted by: qualitative research design at February 10, 2014 5:08 AM

???????? ????????? ???

Posted by: ???????? ????????? ??? at July 25, 2014 11:12 AM

wholesale cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping from china, cheap authentic sports jerseys for youth/kids, womens and mens with Good customer service.

Posted by: http://www.mohawklanes.com/favicon.html at November 28, 2014 5:43 AM

Hello, yup this paragraph is actually nice and I have learned lot of things
from it on the topic of blogging. thanks.

Posted by: louisville plumbers at March 27, 2015 12:47 AM

Post a Comment:

Blog Main
RSS Feed  
Recent Posts
  EFF-PFF Amicus Brief in Schwarzenegger v. EMA Supreme Court Videogame Violence Case
New OECD Study Finds That Improved IPR Protections Benefit Developing Countries
Hubris, Cowardice, File-sharing, and TechDirt
iPhones, DRM, and Doom-Mongers
"Rogue Archivist" Carl Malamud On How to Fix Gov2.0
Coping with Information Overload: Thoughts on Hamlet's BlackBerry by William Powers
How Many Times Has Michael "Dr. Doom" Copps Forecast an Internet Apocalypse?
Google / Verizon Proposal May Be Important Compromise, But Regulatory Trajectory Concerns Many
Two Schools of Internet Pessimism
GAO: Wireless Prices Plummeting; Public Knowledge: We Must Regulate!
Archives by Month
  September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
  - (see all)
Archives by Topic
  - A La Carte
- Add category
- Advertising & Marketing
- Antitrust & Competition Policy
- Appleplectics
- Books & Book Reviews
- Broadband
- Cable
- Campaign Finance Law
- Capitalism
- Capitol Hill
- China
- Commons
- Communications
- Copyright
- Cutting the Video Cord
- Cyber-Security
- Digital Americas
- Digital Europe
- Digital Europe 2006
- Digital TV
- E-commerce
- e-Government & Transparency
- Economics
- Education
- Electricity
- Energy
- Events
- Exaflood
- Free Speech
- Gambling
- General
- Generic Rant
- Global Innovation
- Googlephobia
- Googlephobia
- Human Capital
- Innovation
- Intermediary Deputization & Section 230
- Internet
- Internet Governance
- Internet TV
- Interoperability
- IP
- Local Franchising
- Mass Media
- Media Regulation
- Monetary Policy
- Municipal Ownership
- Net Neutrality
- Neutrality
- Non-PFF Podcasts
- Ongoing Series
- Online Safety & Parental Controls
- Open Source
- PFF Podcasts
- Philosophy / Cyber-Libertarianism
- Privacy
- Privacy Solutions
- Regulation
- Search
- Security
- Software
- Space
- Spectrum
- Sports
- State Policy
- Supreme Court
- Taxes
- The FCC
- The FTC
- The News Frontier
- Think Tanks
- Trade
- Trademark
- Universal Service
- Video Games & Virtual Worlds
- VoIP
- What We're Reading
- Wireless
- Wireline
Archives by Author
PFF Blogosphere Archives
We welcome comments by email - look for a link to the author's email address in the byline of each post. Please let us know if we may publish your remarks.

The Progress & Freedom Foundation