On July 6, the Federal Communications Commission put up a blog post entitled “Contributing Code Back: FCC.gov’s Open-Source Feedback Loop,” articulating the agency’s commitment to open source and open source development. “Here at the FCC, we’re always excited when we can contribute to open source software,” new media fellow and developer Ben Balter wrote. At some point between then and this week, the FCC deleted the blog post and the Google cache. Some open source developers found this alarming, given that the agency changed leadership around the same time–ex-Microsoftie Steven VanRoekel left the agency in June to become the nation’s CIO and was replaced by Robert Naylor, previously CIO at the Small Business Administration.
Mr. Balter declined to comment when Betabeat asked him what was up with the vanishing blog post, referring us to the office of media relations. When we called this morning, the FCC scrambled to get back to us. And about four hours after we first spoke with press secretary Neil Grace, the FCC put the post back. “We put it up a little early,” was Mr. Grace’s explanation. “There was just some miscommunication here on process. They just said there was a miscommunication on getting stuff up. It’s August here in the federal government, some folks are out of the office and didn’t get a chance to see it.” The FCC is still committed to open source–a few months ago it switched its notoriously-bad website over to the open source platform Drupal–as well as open source development, he said, and the text of the post was not changed (Betabeat could not confirm this as the cache had been cleared, but the first paragraph, which was excerpted on other sites and was not pulled from the FCC’s Facebook page, appears intact). Since then, the agency has released a few “code snippets” and a WordPress plugin.
When Mr. Naylor was announced as the FCC’s new CIO, the FCC emphasized keeping the agency “agile, responsive and effective in the high-tech space it serves” and shifting more data securely to the cloud. “As CIO, Mr. Naylor will continue to guide the agency’s investment in tech infrastructure, reducing costs and empowering FCC employees to deploy innovative solutions inside the agency,” the statement said at the time. Betabeat could not find any public statements made by Mr. Naylor on the topic of open source development.