NH House Bill 1197

HB 1197 concerns studying the requirement to consider the use of open source in NH State Government and creating a report about the benefits that may be gained by doing so.

-- BillMcGonigle - 25 Jan 2006


Subcommittee work session on HB 1197


Tuesday, Jan 24th: 2:00 p.m. Subcommittee work session on HB 1197, establishing a committee to study requiring state government to consider using open source software when acquiring new software.

GNHLUG Attendees

Main.Bill McGonigle Main.Chris Schmidt Main.Bill Sconce

Other Attendees


Amendment to Bill: * Add "innovation research center" at University

Open Source discussion first * Opensource Definition passed out by committee member Jim:

  • Opensource.org "definitive source" ("I guess")

Subcommittee work meeting called to order. Bill to establish committe to consider studying open source software when aquiring new software Rep Cataldo Seth Cohen Rep Maxfield

Audience members introduce themselves. * Bill Sconce * Bill McGonigle * Me * Pat Walfolkel from University System of New Hampshire

Start with Opensource definition "OSI is the focal point for official open source software" Stemmed from work done in Universities Evolved into Linux: First "major" open source project, most easily identifiable Other products: * Web Browsers

Open source available for people who wanted them Variety of initiatives started where there was some "opensource" but not re-distribution, etc.

Sources are still the same: * Businesses * University system * Improved upon and modified by various sources

OSI Helped bring enough standards to regulate business: without standards, it's a high risk business.

Goes over approved license list * "Indicates to business"

Releasing software for free has gone much farther than OSI. OSI Mark indicates "has gone through process we talked about" Getting a license approved

"If it's free software, how does anyone make any money off it?" Can go to B&N, get OO. Not only executable code, but also source code Representative Rider has installed it on his machine: One of the right contexts for it. An established product, one that people understand, one that a user can use without support. Support is a way of making money off it.

For businesses, if you decide to move forward, will need tech support at some point. If it's just how do I use it, then you can get help from that over the phone. If something doesn't work right, or needs to be patched, that goes beyond what the user can provide, and that's where companies have filled the void.

If there's a large upgrade required, it will hopefully be available online or via CD.

How does that related to state of NH. "One of the things I've realized" * On the website the only government that is advertised is the Govt. of Peru * Not as prevelant as people would think in Government

  • Peru issued mandate - OS only first, and then apply for alternatives if impossible

Man of state's applications are mainframe based, most likely no similar packages.

Best place being desktop

True support for using the source code. Requires someone who understands the code. "Sponsor was kind of off in left field." Doesn't hit home with OS, or with the state. "Open Source Norton Antivirus." "Would you want someone other than Norton maintaining your AV?"

Something that might save the state money. * As originally introduced, would have us create a committee, require state to consider using OSS * 2 elements:

  • "Study committee"
  • "to consider using"

12000 employees approximately, but not many of them have no desktops. Lots of computers that wnat to have a plan to mess with. Worth establishing a study committee? Or is the sponsorship so low as to not warrant that? Requires a committment by an organization

Questions: * What would prevent a manager right now from applying open source they think is helpful?

  • Supposed to centralized all procurements of software through an IT organization. General Purpose software, they would have to provide procurement.
  • "You can't just install anything you want on your PC." For viruses.

People who have to file reports with the state fin the software to be terrible. Those reports filed with the state have to be forwarded to the feds. And it's an antiquated inefficient time consuming experience.

How can this speed it up, or make it easier, or would it screw it up so totally that the feds couldn't read them.

If it was just used on esktops as opposed to HHS for everything that that would make it easier?

HHS Would use OSS to send data to the feds: * Write it themselves * Or find an application that was used elsewhere that was used. * It's not that it won't ever be available, just that it isn't.

"Goose" the state to make programs more usable. Can't use a high-speed connection. must use dial up. Would this make things easier for people trying to do better.

How to address this without an IT department here.

"Governer Benson recognized the problem." was going to hire an IT firm. Centralized IT controls in one area. Purchase of software and hardware. 'No accountability, highest paid state employee' - had a hard job, but didn't do reports, so no one knew. "Promised savings, and quit right before accountability."

Millions of dollars worth of investment -- OSS or not. "Does the state have a master IT/Tech plan?"

Just put out a report, but that information here.

The bill says to use IT department as much as possible.

No one from IT has come to meetings or been called to appear

ACS Medicare solution, was overturned by executivie Comission.

Amendment: * Industrial Research Center * Is amendment 'germane'? * Should be subject to a public hearing? * 3-4 committees at the legislative that handle tech issues. Might be more tech if there was more in the 5 people in the subcommittee. * Does not lead to long range planning.

* Possibly rewrite bill to lay out 3-5 year plan. * IT people are aware of the bill... * No response?

At least 2 IT departments: bring them in to get their input. The general feeling of the subcomittee: This is far beyond the scope of 5 legislators: ought to be the IT department working under a mandate to create a deliverable plan and report back. May be that ITL is the better solution at this time.

"How do we take the software packages and bring into the 21st century." We have to have a good idea of how much money these components would require: biggest problem in everything is the Bill.

IT may have something that is already a plan.

Copied a bill from Oregon: Didn't want to create a mandate with no information.

One option: * Talk to IT to get agreement to drive a bill -- what should the study be. (ITL) * Other option is to reword this to just a couple paragraphs that requires Executive and IT to come back with a plan for adressing modernation, desktop strategy, etc.

"Accepted an amendment which is non-germane." "An embarrasment to the process." Maxfield introduced committee.

ITL amendment. Then modify bill to be a charge to IT departments over the next year.

Recommend not incluing the amendment on the bill. Motion by the chairman to cancel bill.

Amendment will be added to bill to change target of bill. See what's out there. Talk to the IT department to figure out what's up.

* "Knowning that Rep Maxfield is on a tech committee, would have more information to release a bill that would cover"


Rep. Cataldo, Rep. Maxfield


Seth Cohn

Bill Text


Bill Status


Docket: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/ns/billstatus/trackdoc.asp?txtbillnumber=HB1197

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Topic revision: r3 - 2006-01-30 - BillMcGonigle

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