Plone Conference Liveblogging: Tom Moroz’s Keynote

Tom Moroz, Open Society Instiute

– Intro by Alan Runyan: the future of open source software looks
very much like the path that nonprofits and civil society
organizations have blazed.
– Heard a lot about Seattle 2006 conference and the strong
community. At first I wondered what the connection between open
society and open source was, but the more I’ve gotten involved
with Plone, the more I’ve come to see that we share the same path.
– A few months ago, we met Peter Hollands from Cisco Foundation who
helped Oxfam work on Plone. Helped him see the relevance of the
work we’re doing for the broader NGO/social change space.
– Eben Mogeln’s inspiration talk at Seattle 2006 helped further
draw that connection.
– Hope to show that the Plone community is an “open society”
– Open Society Institute: mission based on democracy, human rights,
rule of law. Local policy work, plus global alliance building.
– Plone’s power: helping build alliances online.
– OSI: works in over 60 countries and in 20+ program
– Founder: George Soros, became a billionaire investor, then in the
early 90s, became very interested in promoting open society in
the fomer Soviet Union, then has expanded organically from there
over the years. Now, 32 independent national foundations.
– Challenge: how to connect a very decentralized network?
– Many OSI programs have realized that policy advocacy is critical
to social change. This is filtering across their program areas.
– Example: education program supporting everything from preschool
to higher education.
– Key OSI inititaives:
– advocacy
– education/scholarships
– media/information
– local government
– human rights
– justice
– public health
– Tom’s definition of Open Source: a set of principles that promote
open access to the design and production of goods and knowledge.
– This definition applies to software development, but also to
government, media, education, business… and beyond!
– Open source is becoming integrated into the fabric of society
– “Wikinomics” – you only grow by making your knowledge open and
– Strong philosophical overlap between the Open Source philosophy
and Open Society Institute
– Knowledge is provisional and fallible
– Open Source: get the software out there, and then improve
it. User input into software design.
– Responsiveness
– Also, tolerance of differences. Rapid improvement. All
bugs are shallow in open source.
– Transparency
– example: Iraq Revenue Watch. Publish the numbers,
improve the policy.
– Obviously at the heart of Open Source!
– Pluralistic
– Open Society is very diverse and multicultural. Respect
for differences is at the core of both Open Society and
Open Source. Bringing everyone to the table really
– High degree of personal responsibility
– It’s up to the individual to interpret their own values.
You’re self-motivated to improve both society and
– Open Society values that don’t (obviously) map to Open Source
– Freedom and human rights are at the foundation
– Me: Software freedom is a form of intellectual
freedom — that’s what Eben Moglen argues
– Social mobility is a measure of openness
– Plone at OSI
– The problem: global intranet
– Timeline
– July 2006: chose Plone
– May 2007: KARL 1.0 beta release
– October 2007: KARL soft launch
– Process: extensive conversations with partners.
Conclusions: we don’t know all of the great work we’re
doing. We need to build more awareness of what we’re
doing. Started by looking for proprietary solutions, but
none could meet needs (e.g. Sharepoint), and also wasn’t
consistent with organizational philosophy.
– Had great experience with using Plone for the planning
– Presenting KARL to OSI board next week!
– Brief demo of KARL
– User-created Communities
– Tags
– Organization-wide news, events
– Local news, events, etc.
– Things we need to generalize
– Great tagging UI (!)
– Already very strong adoption, even in beta testing!
– Vision
– A microcosm for the global future of collaboration
– Vision of a hosted service for smaller organizations
– Host must be a trusted consortium!
– Importance of “soft” technology and methodologies
– Peter Senge, learning organizations.
– How can we replicate effective real-world
collaboration online?
– Closing thoughts
– Spiritual activism: social change comes from the
bottom, motivated by internal vision.
– Cells begin to find each other during metamorphosis.
– We’re starting to find local cells of change, and
they’re beginning to connect.
– Plone can be an amazing tool for connecting people.
– The journey is just beginning.