Last week, the Mexican government announced they’ve signed a $10 million contract to create an application that manages the parliamentary and legislative information of the country. But an outcry quickly erupted.
Open source activists and Mexican hackers organized online and offline protests offering the government to build the application for free through open source tools or a token price of $1,000.
In response, the Mexican Congress
canceled the expensive contract, and the protesters have been invited to present their solution to the Congress’ Science and Technology Commission at the beginning of next month.
There are tens of open source application to empower governments like
Free-gov and egov, but the following 2 applications have been built specifically for parliaments activities and documents management. 1. Parliament amendment tool:
AT4AM is the web-based amendment authoring tool successfully used at the European Parliament (EP) since February 2010 by Members and their assistants, and advisors of the political groups to create and table amendments on the proposals of the European Commission and the Council of the European Union, and the reports of the parliamentary committees.
Since its launch in 2010, AT4AM has been used to table more than 250,000 amendments in the EP, the EP news service reports.
Compared to the widely used Microsoft Word-based system, the great benefits of AT4AM are a much better quality of the amendments, and an easier and faster process of creating, sharing, tabling, verifying, registering and ordering amendments focused on content and no more on formatting. All corrections and edits are automatically added to the original document, without any need to copy data or work on several files at the same time.
The United Nations and the parliaments in Denmark and in the United Kingdom have expressed interest in the software.
Akoma Ntoso XML format as input format for source texts and as output format for amendments. (Akoma Ntoso or “linked hearts” in Akan language of West Africa)
Akoma Ntoso is an initiative of
Africa i-Parliament. AT4AM is available as free and open source software. Video presentations of AT4AM application are available here: https://vimeo.com/user2700498
2. Parliamentary Information System:
Bungeni provides tools for the drafting, revision, amendment and publishing phases of the document life-cycle and also tools to allow citizens to provide feedback, comments on issues, submit petitions and propose amendment to legislation in discussion. Users within Parliament, including MPs, parliamentary and other support staff, may use Bungeni as a support tool for the entire range of Parliamentary works. Citizens, civil society organisations, institutions and private companies may use the system to access Parliamentary works and also to present contributions, opinions or feedback on specific issues of their concern.
Bungeni 2.0 aims at making Parliaments more open and accessible to citizens … virtually allowing them “inside Parliament” or “Bungeni” the Kiswahili word for “inside Parliament”.
Bungeni is a collaborative software development initiative based like AT4AM on
AKOMA NTOSO and other open source applications that provides a leading solution for drafting, managing, consolidating and publishing legislative and other parliamentary documents.
Bungeni is an initiative of
Africa i-Parliament. It’s available for download here: http://www.bungeni.org/setting-up-bungeni/documentation-and-installation