President's Report 2012-13

Since our last AGM in August 2012, the NZOSS has had a good year.

At our 2012 AGM we had a bit of turn over in our council, but we maintained an experienced and dedicated crew, and one put his hand up to fill the newly vacant Secretary role.

The Council is made up of:

  1. Don Christie  (Government Liaison)
  2. Peter Harrison (Vice President)
  3. Dave Lane (President)
  4. Scott Newton (Secretary)
  5. Daniel Reurich (Treasurer)

NZOSS Achievements in 2012-2013 year

It's been a busy year for all of us. The biggest themes of the year seem to be that

  • the world is quietly and gradually but inexorably increasing its adoption of FOSS.
  • the world (led by the US) is coming up with more and more ways to threaten our freedom as software developers (software patents) and as people existing in a world saturated with technology - the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (and related agreements, e.g. the Atlantic version), SOPA/PIPA along with various other US-based threats, and here on the home front, the absurdly bad GCSB bill and the decision to delay the Copyright Amendment Bill review...

In any case, we in the NZOSS have been busy. Here's a bit of a summary of some of our activities in the past year... I'll start with the things that aren't as auspicious to get them out of the way:


  • we did not get online membership payment sorted
  • we did not sponsor any prizes for open source software related academic achievement or competitions
  • we did not increase our financial membership numbers or our income


For a volunteer organisation with a negligible budget, we actually achieved quite a bit. I think we can always do more, but I think we can be pretty proud of what we did accomplish:

  • successful led software patent exclusion online petition
  • petition tabled in Parliament during 2nd reading of Patents Bill
  • victory in collaborative multi-stakeholder campaign (where NZOSS worked with InternetNZ, IITP, NZRise, and various interested individuals) to pressure the Government into altering the wording of the Patents Bill to ensure the software patent exclusion is effective
  • participating in and sponsoring NZ Open Source Awards
  • participating in and sponsoring InternetNZ's NetHui South 2012 (Dunedin) and NetHui 2013 (Wellington) conferences
  • a series of meaty discussions on OpenChat mailing lists, and interest in Facebook and LinkedIn presences
  • agreed to an alliance in principle with the NZ M?ori Internet Society (NZMIS)
  • some initial regional NZOSS community get-togethers
  • worked with and sponsored InternetNZ-led "Fair Deal" campaign to inform the New Zealand public about the many threats posed by the top-secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement due, in large part, to the US' involvement. Similarly assisted with NZ-led international companion campaign OurFairDeal
  • emergence of The Co-op as a nation-wide FOSS business network and community of practice
  • we became an affiliate organisation to the Open Source Initiative (OSI)
  • the Department of Internal Affairs selected the NZ-initiated open source Silverstripe web application platform and CMS as the government Common Web Platform
  • quite a few NZ local government agencies (and at least one Crown Research Institute, NIWA) are allowing proprietary GIS software licenses to lapse in favour of FOSS GIS packages running on FOSS stacks.

Aspirations for the coming year

At the end of each year, I find it useful to transform our reflection on the past into aspirations for the coming year:

  • offer secure online credit card payment for membership and possible merchandise
  • work toward website upgrade, and perhaps integration of home-grown online payment system: Kiwipay
  • consider video meetings (council and broader) with BigBlueButton
  • establish regular regional NZOSS community catch-ups
  • encourage gov't and education adoption of locally provided FOSS cloud technologies, also work with vendors to provide such options
  • we plan to sponsor the Open Source Developer Conference (OSDC), NetHui South 2013, and international Software Freedom Day activities in NZ among other free and open source-focused events in the coming year
  • we'd like to increasingly engage with the "maker" community (e.g. Tangleball, Makerspaces, Makercrates, 3D printing and laser-cutting hackers, etc.), who we see as sharing many values with the existing software-focused NZOSS community
  • the society to work with groups of NZ-based software vendors to create one or more viable FOSS IT products for government and education
  • consider small grants to help FOSS-focused groups like the Wellington Soup Hub to publicise their systems and processes to encourage others to adopt similar approaches elsewhere in NZ and the world.
  • promote FOSS educational initiatives like the Catalyst Open Source Academy (disclosure: I am employed by Catalyst)

I'd like to thank our volunteer executive (Peter, Scott, and Daniel) our council, and our members (both full and free) for their time, energy, and thoughtful intelligence. Here's hoping the year to come is as good or better.

Dave Lane, President NZOSS