Open Data Plan

Hi all,

I have been under the weather recently, but now I am back!

After two initial meetings I bewimpel’ed a plan here:

Open Data

I am now looking to take this plan forward. Clearly, the above 6-point plan can be extended.

I would like to meet at 2pm until 3pm on Thursday 30 March 2017 to grow Open Data as a shared resource and a business opportunity.

The Agenda is:

(1) what the IEEE brings

(2) what would business really like

(3) why should we collaborate

(4) how can we get the plan in place

(5) setup an ad-hoc management committee

(6) links to Big Data & Smart Cities

For that we need a board room with internet connectivity.

Please contact me should you wish to attend @davidjhislop on Twitter or email me at david dot hislop at ieee dot org.

LGPL question

Help, I am confused about LGPL.

We have a integration platform called the Core. It is licensed under LGPL. A former client has built their multi-million rand service on it.

We do not get a dime from this client.

They provide an online service using the the Core and probably resell their service as a product using   the Core.

(I suspect they have modified our source now, but I cannot prove this. So I will leave it for the moment.)

The question is how do we get income from the former client for our product?



My friend Duncan wanted to teach Quantum Mechanics in the township. To me this was the equivalent of the story of the Mexican boy throwing starfish back into the sea. I thought I would rather be in industry, make things and create value. Little did I know this would become a trip into innovation and entrepreneurship, which has become a lurching Frankenstein monster.

I am frequently shocked by the divide between C-level executives and their project teams. In South African companies it is the CEO who has has the dream. She must take risks (innovate) to keep her business competitive. It is the techies who need to execute the plan and this is a comedy of errors of miscommunication. While techies are self righteous and avoid responsibility, executive-speak is a language that only C-level executives can speak, and plans that are not executable are good as useless. However, the gap between government technology managers and the real world is even larger than that in companies.

We are in this country blessed with a DST and a credible Minister. But consider for a moment the decision making process of a SET manager in government: in contrast to the DTI, they need to produce a return on investment on long-term nebulous criteria. To help themselves, they can speak to academics and consultancies, but there are problems with these conversations. On the other hand they can speak to successful innovators, but the problem with successful people is that they are the exception and not the rule.

And so they hit upon the idea of hiding behind innovation and entrepreneurship, as have the thinkers in many other countries. The fundamental problem about this programme is that it is supply side only, along with punting universities, pumping up accelerators and pandering to metrics.

The theory around innovation is mathematically justified. Schumpeter started this program about 90 years ago and it has received many iterations.

But Schumpeter also argued the importance of large companies with capital to invest in research and development of new products and services. Modern theorists such as Mariana Mazzucato agree but are slanted towards government. In fact the GSM family of technologies comes from the European Union (government) getting companies to cooperate. Even that famed device of private enterprise, the iPhone, came largely from government labs.

It is from this structure and management that innovation comes. The company that was founded in a one-car garage in Palo Alto by Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard is an anti-pattern.

I am running perilously close to agreeing with a recent headline “adequate support and access to funding will ensure SMMEs’ success”. It is not the funding that makes companies successful (although that is useful), it is the access to markets. It is paying clients that drive innovation.

What we need to do is create a culture of consuming our own innovation. Instead in South Africa we get SMME’s competing against each other. SMME’s are experts at filling in forms.  The much vaunted new tender system is just terrible.

Supply and Demand. Cause and Effect. This is what is lacking in the Innovation discussion.


Open Data

Open Data Industry Connection Activity Report 1st Year – Feb 2017

As part of the IEEE we are required to submit an annual report. Here is a summary of the report.


We started with a 6 point plan. This we communicated at 2 meetings with representatives of business and government stakeholders at 2 inaugural meetings at the beginning of 2016. At the meeting we shared what we regarded as normative references Appendix A.

We received initial support from local and regional government and various businesses. .

We briefly review the 6 pillars of the plan and successes to date.

Project #1- Local and Regional Government

  • Help municipalities get data into cloud specifically Provincial Government of the Western Cape
  • Look at User Journey for use of the City of Cape Town’s Open Data Portal
  • Look at City of Cape Town’s Open Data business model (See Appendix B for a top level view)
  • Build a community at the City of Cape Town’s Open Data portal
  • Speak about standards, specifically the ETSI / GSM model

In  this regard we had two successes:

We were nominated as the City of Cape Town Open Data public representative and we developed an App using the CoCT Open Data (see Appendix D for screen shots).

Project #2 – Governance and Management

  • Proposed  Structure
    • Scalable
    • Professional
    • Lead up into full standard
    • Include statutory bodies South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), Statistics South Africa (StatsZA) and South African Institute of Electrical Engineers (SAIEE).

We made a proposal around a structure (see Appendix C) and engaged various honourary professional societies who all indicated their support.

Project #3 – Business Engagement

Here we proposed to our initial stakeholders a tiered membership.

Businesses initially proposed some shared projects.

  • FICA Exchange
  • Free Hosting

Project #4 – Tools

Here we wish to investigate various tools on behalf of our stakeholders, such as visualisation, privacy, security, clustering, building solutions, …

Project #5 – Digital Divide

“A digital divide is an economic and social inequality with regard to access to, use of, or impact of information and communication technologies (ICT)”. The question is what are we actually doing about it.

Project #6 – Collaboration National International

We wish to host a Conference on Open Data. We participated in the UN Open Data forum ( held in Cape Town.


A – Normative References

B – CoCT Business Drivers

3.1 ‘Well-run City’: The transparent government programme.

3.2  ‘Opportunity City’: Create an enabling environment to attract investment that generates economic growth and job creation.

3.3 The policy supports the Economic Growth Strategy programme on prioritising competitiveness in City business improvement initiatives, specifically where this relates to governance and oversight and improving the competitiveness of the broader economy of Cape Town.

C – Proposed Open Data Management structure

D – App screenshots – City of Cape Town Open Data Pollution

Welcome to the new Korwe blog

We have started our blog again. We were extremely diligent bloggers, then we decided to get rid of Drupal. The old blog is here.

We will be keeping you updated about developments.

We are creating some showcase for our platform the Tree. We recently created We will do more in the coming weeks. If you have a challenge for us, let us know.

These are showcases of things you can do on the Tree, not the Tree itself. The Tree is the self service provisioning backend PaaS.