- County to contribute to open-source community
- Supports open and collaborative government
- New website coming, leverages open-source
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Arlington County Board today voted to share parts of the County's public website code with the open-source community. Arlington County is one of the first local governments in Virginia to share its code in this way.
“The website is critical to County government and our community,” said Arlington County Board Chairman J. Walter Tejada. “The action today shows our commitment to open, innovative government – and to developing a website that's fast and easy for our residents, businesses and others to use.”
About the General Public License
The Board approved the use of the General Public License (GPL) for website source code developed by the County. The GPL allows end users (individuals, other local governments, nonprofits, etc.) to leverage the work done by the county government by being able to re-use, copy, modify, or make improvements to website code the County releases publicly. For example, if the County creates a customized feature or function on the County website, we can share it with others who may want to use it. The GPL is the most widely used license in the open-source community.
The Board voted 5 to 0 to approve the license use as part of its Consent Agenda.
New County website coming
The County also is developing a new County website built on open-source software. This cost-effective approach uses WordPress, an open-source content management system used by tens of millions of websites. The County currently has more than 15 websites built in WordPress, including the Library website. The County website is a critical communications vehicle for the community and received nearly 6.5 million visits in 2012.
The new County website will roll out in phases throughout the year. When completed, the new website will save money by making it easier and faster for staff to update content, eliminating licensing fees and reducing maintenance costs. It also will make it easier for residents to find what they need on the County website. In the coming months, the County will invite residents through social media to participate in online user testing.
Read more in the staff report to the Board (Item #29).