[FSFE PR][EN] Public code for publicly financed international development cooperation

press at fsfe.org press at fsfe.org
Thu Dec 10 08:20:43 UTC 2020

 = Public code for publicly financed international development cooperation =

[ Read online: https://fsfe.org/news/2020/news-20201210-01.en.html ]

International development cooperation is increasingly digitised. Free
Software thus is becoming a fundamental technology to reach the United
Nation's Sustainable Development Goals. Together with experts in the
field, the FSFE summarises these interrelations in an article and
demands publicly funded software to be published as Free Software.

Inherent attributes of Free Software and its communities include equal
access to the sources, an international culture of sharing and
developing software together for the benefit of everyone. While many of
us find these freedoms to be universally acceptable, we see that this is
not the case once we look in the world of proprietary software.
Unfortunately, the same is to be said for the distribution of natural
resources around the globe.

In 2015 the United Nations General Assembly set the Sustainable
Development Goals, aiming at "a better and sustainable future for all"
by trying to reduce inequalities and offer equal access to the most
basic resources of our societies like food, health and education.
International development cooperation strives to achieve the UN
sustainability goals by improving global conditions and the empowering
of local partners. In some extend similar as to software freedom,
existing dependencies should be reduced and new dependencies avoided at
all costs.

Nowadays, international development cooperation is becoming increasingly
digitised and shifting its focus towards digital cooperation. Whether in
agriculture, industrial production, health care or public
administration, the development and maintenance of modern social
processes is no longer conceivable without software. To some extent
functional software becomes the basic technology of social organization
as well as of modern administrative services. The roll-out of
proprietary software, however, exacerbates the dependencies of users in
the developing countries on the currently market-dominating software
industry from the present industrial countries. Free Software, in
contrast, allows emancipation and independence of its users - be they
individuals or state-owned organisations.

Free Software allows development investments once made to be reused
around the globe without (further) license costs and without legal or
technical restrictions. The simultaneous publication of its source code
on public code repositories also enables one's own software development
to profit from reusing, improving and republishing by other actors
around the globe. In terms of international cooperation, the freely
licensed source code serves as a basis for organized or self-empowered
knowledge multiplication and transfer. Free Software allows the
development of digital cornerstones and provides international standards
without creating new monopolies and dependencies.

The reasons just mentioned show that Free Software is an essential part
of any sustainable digital development. Consequently, the "Principles
for Digital Development" require the publication of software, data and
standards under free licenses. The FSFE, together with experts from the
German Corporation for International Cooperation, has analyzed and put
together the main benefits for international development cooperation
when relying on Free Software in one article [1].

The article is part of our series about the basics of Free Software [2].
It delivers background on the ongoing process of digitisation in
international devlopment cooperation, its effects and the status quo. It
sheds light on the multiple benefits that international development
cooperation can profit from, when using and developing Free Software.
They build reason the FSFE demanding that in all international
development cooperation, any software development (co-)financed with
public money be published as Free Software [3].

Read the article [4]

Nico Lück, co-author of the article and expert from the German
Corporation for International Cooperation sums up: "Minimising
dependencies and building up local partner capacities fosters
sustainability of IT solutions: Free Software and other open resources
are the enabling instruments to be preferred and promoted for
sustainable development cooperation."  Discuss this [5]

 1: https://fsfe.org/freesoftware/developmentcooperation/index.en.html
 2: https://fsfe.org/freesoftware/index.en.html
 3: https://fsfe.org/freesoftware/developmentcooperation/index.en.html#pmpc-for-development-cooperation
 4: https://fsfe.org/freesoftware/developmentcooperation/index.en.html
 5: https://community.fsfe.org/t/555

  == 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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