[FSFE PR][EN] Collaborative Free Software Platform for Administrations - Group presents concept

press at fsfe.org press at fsfe.org
Thu Sep 10 10:10:02 UTC 2020

 = Collaborative Free Software Platform for Administrations - Group presents concept =

[ Read online: https://fsfe.org/news/2020/news-20200910-01.en.html ]

The increased use of Free Software is a central component for more
digital sovereignty. Together with a strong alliance of administrations,
politics, business and civil society, we call for the development of a
code repository with Free Software for the public sector.

The increased use of Free Software by public institutions is a central
building block for more digital sovereignty. Free Software, also known
as Open Source Software, can be reviewed by everyone and can thus be
independently checked for security aspects. Applications can be operated
by the user and adapted to their needs. In this way, a high degree of
independence from single vendors can be achieved. In addition,
administrations have the opportunity to cooperate with each other more
easily across organisational boundaries.

Together with the Open Source Business Alliance, the federal working
group of municipal IT service providers Vitako and other experts, FSFE
has developed a first concept for a code repository for the public
sector and has found numerous supporters from administrations, politics,
economy and civil society. Under the slogan "A place for public code",
the interest group now wants to pave the way for a portal through which
the public administration in Germany can exchange and jointly develop
Free Software, also known as Open Source Software, in an adequate and
legally compliant manner.

As a first result, a working paper was produced that puts the idea of a
code repository into context and describes the challenges. It also
clarifies the potential of Free Software for use in public institutions
and how such a repository can contribute to the further development of
the digitalisation of administrations.

"The use of Free Software imposes itself on public institutions: Free
Software gives everyone the right to use, understand, share and improve
programs for any purpose. Public institutions are financed by taxes.
They must ensure that they spend the money as efficiently as possible.
By using Free Software, public bodies can collaborate in developing code
and use existing solutions without having to reinvent the wheel over and
over again. If it is public money, the code should be public too! In
addition, Free Software helps to minimise dependencies on individual
providers and thus creates the basis for digital sovereignty. FSFE has
therefore developed the "Public Money? Public Code!" campaign to show
administrations the advantages of using Free Software. However, a common
place to exchange this software within public institutions is still
missing in Germany." explains Alexander Sander, EU Policy Manager of
FSFE.  Accordingly, "A Place for Public Code" pursues the following
approach: Free Software for the administration must be findable in a
structured way and it must be possible to develop and document
collaboratively while being legally compliant. In addition, it is
important that the environment promotes the exchange between the
stakeholders, such as programmers, users and administrators, and
supports the creation of networks so that communities can be created
around individual projects.

In order to fulfil these requirements, a catalogue of Free Software
solutions, a federated user administration, a code and an information
platform are needed. Free Software solutions already exist for this
purpose, which can be rolled out in a first step. The next step is now
to find a supporting organisation and ensure stable financing to meet
the needs of the stakeholders who will use this platform in the future.

The initiative "A Place for Public Code" invites administrations,
politics and the Free Software community to participate in the
discussion and to further develop the project, which can significantly
accelerate the digitisation of administration, in line with the Free
Software idea.

The background paper on this initiative can be found here (.pdf) [1].

The "Public Money? Public Code!" initiative aims to establish Free
Software as a standard for publicly funded software. Public
administrations that follow this principle can benefit from numerous
advantages: Cooperation with other government bodies, independence from
individual vendors, potential tax savings, promotion of innovation and a
more solid basis for IT security.

The "Public Money? Public Code!" initiative of the Free Software
Foundation Europe is supported by over 180 organisations and
administrations, including the City of Barcelona. To find out more,
please visit: publiccode.eu/ [2]

Discuss this [3]

 1: https://download.fsfe.org/policy/papers/20200910-Ein-Ort-fuer-oeffentlichen-Code.v1.pdf
 2: https://publiccode.eu/
 3: https://community.fsfe.org/t/508

  == About the Free Software Foundation Europe ==

  Free Software Foundation Europe is a charity that empowers users to
  control technology. Software is deeply involved in all aspects of our
  lives; and it is important that this technology empowers rather than
  restricts us. Free Software gives everybody the rights to use,
  understand, adapt and share software. These rights help support other
  fundamental freedoms like freedom of speech, press and privacy.

  The FSFE helps individuals and organisations to understand how Free
  Software contributes to freedom, transparency, and self-determination.
  It enhances users' rights by abolishing barriers to Free Software
  adoption, encourage people to use and develop Free Software, and
  provide resources to enable everyone to further promote Free Software
  in Europe.


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