The OSS iPedia

In addition to the other great presentations at GOSCON earlier this week, I had the opportunity to sit in on a presentation by Shuichi Tashiro. Dr. Tashiro is the General Manager of the Japanese government’s Open Source Software Center (OSSC). The OSSC is an arm of the Information Technology Promotion Agency of the Japanese government charged with disseminating information about open source software in Japan and promoting the adoption of open source software by Japanese corporations and government agencies. This is no doubt a challenging task and the team at the OSSC certainly has their work cut out for them. I was, however, impressed to learn about the level of resources being allocated by the Japanese government to assist in these areas and, particularly after speaking with Dr. Tashiro, was equally impressed with the efforts of the team at the OSSC in working to meet this challenge.

Dr. Tashiro and his team at the OSSC focus much of their efforts on helping Japanese corporations and government agencies identify strategic opportunities for open source adoption. They also work to provide tools and resources to help facilitate and accelerate the adoption of open source software by these entities. As Dr. Tashiro notes (and as my experience with clients in Japan would confirm), even more so than here in the U.S., open source legal compliance is a priority for open source users in Japan. As a result, the team at the OSSC also spends a good amount of time working to develop tools to help open source users surmount the legal and practical compliance challenges they face by increasing their use of open source software.

One of the tools released by the OSSC is a web-based open source information resource called the OSS iPedia. While the OSS iPedia is targeted at open source users and developers in Japan, the information in the OSS iPedia is of equal value to any user or developer of open source software. Quite conveniently for those outside of Japan, the OSSC has recently made available an English language version of the OSS iPedia. The English version of the OSS iPedia already has a number of interesting features, including a listing of various examples of open source implementations by governmental agencies and corporations in Japan, case histories and success stories detailing various of these implementations, performance evaluations for various open source projects included in these implementations, and a growing library of other information. While the OSS iPedia is intended to be a work in progress that will grow over time, it already contains a lot of interesting and useful information (even for non-Japanese open source users) and is well worth a visit.


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