Posts Tagged ‘security’

Searching for (and finding) open source in the UK Government

There have been some very encouraging noises recently about increased use of open source software by the UK Government: for example we’ve seen the creation of an Open Source Procurement Toolkit by the Cabinet Office, which lists Xapian and Apache Lucene/Solr as alternatives to the usual closed source options. The CESG, the “UK Government’s National Technical Authority for Information Assurance”, has clarified its position on open source software, which has led to the Cabinet Office dispelling some of the old myths about security and open source. We know that the Cabinet Office’s ’skunkworks’, the Government Digital Service, are using Solr for several of their projects. Francis Maude MP was recently in the USA with some of the GDS team and visited amongst others our US partners Lucid Imagination.

The British Computer Society have helped organise a series of Awareness Events for civil servants and I’m glad to be speaking at the first of these next Tuesday 21st February on open source search – hopefully this will further increase the momentum and make it even more clear that a modern Government needs to consider this modern, flexible and economically scalable approach to software.

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February 17th, 2012

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Events: Open source for government and search in Cambridge

We’ll be attending the Guardian’s Public Procurement Show on June 14th & 15th as part of the Open Goverment stand – with the recent release by the UK government Cabinet Office of a new IT strategy (here are some industry reactions) it will be interesting to see whether anyone still believes the FUD about open source in the face of the evidence.

We’re also organising another search meetup in Cambridge on April 5th, this time featuring two perspectives on learning, and will also be at a more informal gathering of open source search people on May 3rd.

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April 1st, 2011

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Open source intranet search over millions of documents with full security

Last year my colleague Tom Mortimer talked about indexing security information within an open source enterprise search application, and we’re happy to announce more details of the project. Our client is an international radio supplier, who had considered both closed source products and search appliances, but chose open source for greater flexibility and the much lower cost of scaling to indexes of millions of documents.

Using the Flax platform, we built a high-performance multi-threaded filesystem crawler to gather documents, translated them to plain text using our own open source Flax Filters and captured Unix file permissions and access control lists (ACLs). User logins are authenticated against an LDAP server and we use this to show only the results a particular user is allowed to see. We also added the ability to tag documents directly within the search results page (for example, to mark ‘current’ versions, or even personal favourites) – the tags can then be used to filter future results. Faceted search is also available.

You can read more about the project in a case study (PDF) and Tom’s presentation slides (PDF) explain more about the method we used to index the security information.

Intranet search event

Intranet Search was the theme for a small gathering last night at the (rather imposing) Ministry of Justice in London. We heard from Luke Oatham on intranet search at the Ministry itself, powered by Google over a reasonably small set of static and hand-published HTML. Simon Thompson continued with a neat way of enhancing Sharepoint search, using JQuery to create an auto-complete tool for his company intranet, which interestingly displayed both ‘people’ and ‘page’ results in the same drop-down menu. Tyler Tate couldn’t make it to the event due to bad weather, but bravely volunteered to present over Skype on a (surprisingly good) 3G connection, and talked about handling diverse data (video, slides). Next up was our very own Tom Mortimer talking about indexing security information (of which more later) and we finished up with a quick talk from Rangi Robinson on the intranet at Framestore, with search powered by the open source Sphinx project.

Thanks to Simon Thompson and Angel Brown for organising the event and inviting us to speak.

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December 3rd, 2010

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Find out how we build in document security for open source search

My colleague Tom Mortimer will be talking at the London Intranet Show & Tell on 2nd December, about how to implement document-level security for search: his presentation is titled “Implementing ACLs in an open source search solution”.

There are still a few tickets left for this small event, which will be of value to those working on intranet search.

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November 12th, 2010

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