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New Zealand adopts Plone OSS content management system

by Nicolas Bossut last modified 2007-05-29 18:14

The State Services Commission is championing an open source solution for content management needs in state agencies.

A news from National business review, 29.12.2005

State Services Commission Deputy Director for ICT Laurence Millar said today that the SSC was releasing to other government agencies the open source code for a government web guidelines compliant content management system (CMS) based on Plone.

He said the CMS had been used for the recent redevelopment of, as well as the newly launched website for the Ministry of Women's Affairs.

The system is available to both central and local government bodies, he said.

"Plone is a particularly powerful tool for managing websites. Modifying it to make it Web Guidelines compliant means that other government agencies can use this code to build and manage their websites knowing that they are using best practice accessibility standards.

"The growth of content on New Zealand government websites, and the policies around the maintenance of this content, means that content management is an increasingly important issue for government agencies.

"The availability and accessibility of government information and services over the internet is integral to the achievement of the e-government strategy goal of transforming government by June 2010.

"Content Management Systems have an important role to play in making this happen," Mr Millar said.

Plone was developed in 1999 and has since expanded to include 90 developers working on the core software and some 250 various add-on Plone products, he said.

"We were looking for an open source solution that had the requisite functionality, an established track record and a 'critical mass' of developer support.

"Plone met all those criteria.

"Other government agencies can now build on our experience and resources, to ensure they get a content management system that meets their business requirements, is Web Guidelines compliant and is a very cost effective solution," Mr Millar said.

Plone was developed as an intranet and extranet server, a document publishing system, a portal server and as a groupware tool for collaboration between separately located entities, according to the developer website..

The tool is 'technology neutral' and runs on Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, Solaris and BSD, among others, developers say.

Free and capable of being installed in minutes using click-wizards, Plone is built using Zope, an object oriented application server. The language that drives Zope and Plone is Python.

Plone is licensed under the GNU General Public License, the same license Linux uses.

The deal is the second important open source software announcement Mr Millar has made in the last two months.

In October, Mr Millar announced the availability of a government-wide license agreement between the Department of Inland Revenue and Novell, saying "this agreement marks increased opportunities for government agencies, giving them greater flexibility and freedom in their choice of software."

Novell manages the Suse implementation of Linux.

"Open source is a viable alternative or, in some cases, a complementary option to proprietary solutions. This deal provides a framework for other government agencies to introduce or augment their use of open source solutions.

"Robust competition in the government software market is good for New Zealand and has the added advantage of ensuring the government avoids dependence on a limited range of software products and services," Mr Millar said in October..