NZOSA Finalists Part 8: Open Source People's Choice award


NZOSA logoWe are featuring the finalists from each category in the 2021 New Zealand Open Source Awards, in the lead up to the February 2022 gala dinner and award announcements. Congratulations to all the finalists, and we look forward to celebrating all your valuable work at the gala dinner!

Open Source People's Choice award
Te Kōwhiri a te Iwi


Ingo Schommer: A pillar of the open-source Silverstripe CMS

You can't have a discussion about the force of people behind the creation and custodianship of Silverstripe CMS without giving significant credit to Ingo Schommer.

Ingo has always had a significant passion for fostering the open source community. He authored the first book on using Silverstripe CMS in 2009 and even had a sabbatical to return to his home country of Germany where he, in his words, "applied my skills in the local market and expanded Silverstripe's reach into the European community".

Whether he's monitoring the health of the community through identifying trends in the millions of interactions points over the past decades, hosting Silverstripe CMS Meetups, or spending time to catch a beer with a Silverstripe CMS community member to hear their feedback, he pours his heart into this open-source software.


Joseph Sutton's contribution to the Samba Project

Joseph Sutton joined the Samba project as a developer in early 2021; by June he had contributed 74 complex patches to the open source file and printer sharing protocol.

Samba is a large and complex open source software project, and it takes years to learn it well. Likewise the protocols that Samba implements, for example the infamous Kerberos, are complex and interwoven. Joseph has not allowed this to daunt him, instead he has thrived on carefully and deliberately adding tests and fixing issues he has found.

Joseph works well with the upstream Samba Team, and has the eye of an experienced Samba developer; when finding issues he is always looking to fix them properly.


Julian Oliver with Electromagnetic Geographies

With Electromagnetic Geographies, Julian Oliver invited artists to a one-week workshop in which he introduced open source tools to reveal the invisible electromagnetic spectrum in Wellington and guided participants through building their own devices to discover unseen infrastructure.

The workshop was followed by an exhibition in an inner-city space utilising the diverse electronic networks traversing through the city to create a wider awareness of the spectral infrastructures being used to study us, and how this domain can be employed as a material in creative and critical practices.

At the heart of the workshop and the exhibition sits the Linux-based operating system “Electromagnetic Geographies” that allowed the participants from a diversity of backgrounds to engage with highly complex material in an accessible manner, celebrating open-source technology as a means to advance artistic production and activism in the radio spectrum.


Kolovai Library, Kingdom of Tonga for their use of Koha in providing community access to information and knowledge

Kolovai Library use Koha Library Management System to provide materials and services to help community members gather information and knowledge to meet their personal, educational, and cultural needs.

The library is dedicated to enriching the lives of its community by fostering the spirit of exploration and lifelong learning for all ages.

Over the span of 2 years, Kolovai Library founders turned an unused village fale into a public library and sourced, collected, and shipped over 20,000 items (including donations of laptops, bikes for hire, paint, and hands-on help from local people).


Manawatū-Whanganui Local Authority Shared Services Ltd for Archives Central

Archives Central is a physical and digital repository for a consortium of central-North Island councils. The site was recently rebuilt onto Islandora 8, an open source digital repository system including Drupal 8, Fedora Commons Repository, Apache Solr, and numerous other FOSS components. Over 200,000 records were migrated.

The new system introduced a responsive design, a revised data model using the latest archival data standards, and showcases digital records to make them more discoverable and enjoyable. The records have been modelled as a knowledge graph (linked data) using the new Records in Contexts (RiCO) ontology. As such, AC is one of the first applications of RiC around the world, and is particularly noteworthy because it is using "commodity" applications (as compared to fully bespoke software) to implement data standards that have the potential to transform data use and reuse throughout the GLAM (Galleries Libraries Archives Museums) sector.

The combination of open data standards backed by open software is a powerful strategy for ensuring the long-term integrity and viability of the archive.


Thriving Rangatahi Population Explorer

This work is about democratising data, so community organisations have the information they need, for free, when working to support our rangatahi in Aotearoa in NZ.

This mahi used R in Stats NZ Integrated Data Infrastructure, to compile information about rangatahi in local areas throughout Aotearoa, centred around a framework of Māori wellbeing. It was then hosted in an R Shiny app, so community organisations can access this data safely, and for free.

Nicholson Consulting led the work, and thought long and hard about their use of open source data and technology, to ensure they did it safely, carefully, and recognised the areas of associated risk. They have tried to mitigate these by using approaches from te ao Māori and influenced by the Principles of Māori Data Sovereignty.

Their thinking about open source extended far beyond technology, to engagement and partnership with Māori community organisations and care and protection of the data itself.