Newport News Government Open Sources Their Website and Knowledge Base
The city of Newport News has released the software that runs their website free of charge to any organization or individual. The series of Plone-based products is not the only thing they are releasing. Andy Stein, the IT director for the city, is also releasing the knowledge base, their best practices, documentation, standards, retrospectives/lessons learned, experiences on converting to a CMS, training materials, hardware and software configurations and setup, and various other things. These are released under the GPL.
“We intend to provide a low barrier to entry,” said Stein. "It should be simple and inexpensive to assess the level of fit with an organization’s needs. The same efficiency should apply through the entire product life-cycle: test period, deployment on intranet and/or Internet, maintenance, support and enhancements. ( from govtech.com )
Newport News isn’t a large city in the sense of Boston or Chicago, but it’s a decent mid-level American city with a diverse voter base and has a lot of the problems facing many post-industrial American cities. Newport News Shipbuilding is one of the main shipyards for the US Navy and has a downtown that’s a bit run down. I see this system as being a boon for many cities that are the size of Newport News or smaller that don’t have the funds to get this level of a site online. This also encourages more interaction in government, something that is sorely lacking in the one-way communication of the television era.
The code is available on the city website.