To deliver innovative government solutions, Europe's public administrations turn to free and open source software. Innovation is the main motive, costs savings come next.
It makes business sense to use open source software. All the big IT companies are doing it. But public administrations especially ought to share their software.
Public administrations that invest in open source create future benefits and generate a virtuous loop between the public and private sector.
Public administration software is financed by taxpayers, and making it public is the best way to share the solutions with citizens and companies.
Publicly sharing code and improvements to existing code, lets public administrations pay their IT investments forward. They get technological self-reliance into the bargain.
Swiss, German, and French public administrations have pooled budgets to make new software solutions possible and publicly available.
Public administrations increasingly use free and open source
“Using an open source desktop lowers the total cost of ownership by 40% in savings on proprietary software licences and by reducing costs on IT management.”
The number of politicians that appreciate open source is rising
Julia Reda @senficon and Max Andersson @maxandersson, members of the European Parliament, want to build links with well-known free software communities.
for everything, everywhere
and across all sectors
open source is everywhere
in the EU institutions
in regional governments
in capitals, big cities, towns and tiny villages
Spanish cities Zaragoza, Madrid, Bilbao and Badajoz
Portugal's Vieira do minho
Denmark's second-largest city Århus
Dutch city of Ede
Towns of Grygov and Jihlava in the Czech Republic
across all sectors, including:
Malcolm Moore, network manager at UK's Westcliff High School for Girls academy:
“This school specialises in science and engineering and if our students are to go on to do great things, like start the next Google, or collapse the universe at CERN... they will certainly need to know linux.”
Too few politicians are aware of the values of free software
More politicians need to recognise the value of open source in terms of responsable government, sustainability, openness and independence from IT vendors. They should recognise that governments using open source create future benefits.
“Free and open source software creates a virtuous loop between the public and private sector, with a recurring public contribution.”
Research done on municipal governments in the Netherlands shows:
Political support and pioneers are pivotal for open source.
|short-term versus long-term|
|migration costs & exit costs||Hidden cost of proprietary standards|
|lack of business models|
|lock-in||NL: Cost of vendor lock-in too high|
|legal uncertainty||European Union Public Licence|
|perceived as risky|
|lack of leading examples|
|lack of ICT support||How 17 French ministries joined forces|
|lack of governmental policies|
|large procurement favours large firms||UK Government G-Cloud|
Even the EC admits that it is locked-in.
"The current captivity situation as regards desktop operating systems and productivity tools is not new or limited to the Commission."
Do as I say, not as I do.
Public administrations are unsure how to release their code as open source, and are wary to contributing to well-known open source projects.
There are no legal objections. This was thoroughly researched at the EC. Public administrations, as system owner of a software asset, have
Pierre Damas, Head of Sector at the Directorate General for IT (DIGIT) at the EC:
“We use a lot of open source components that we adapt and integrate, and it is time that we contribute back.”
There are good examples
1. French Gendarmerie
72,000 Ubuntu Linux & Libreoffice desktops
Major Stéphane Dumond (Gendarmerie, France):
“The direct benefits of saving on licences are the tip of the iceberg. An industrialised open source desktop is a powerful lever for IT governance.”
2. Government of Spain's Extremadura autonomous region
42,000 Ubuntu Linux desktops (target)
3. City administration of Munich
14,800 Ubuntu Linux and Libreoffice desktops, now
Christian Ude (mayor of Munich) meets Bill Gates. Gates: “Mr. ude, why are you doing this?”. Ude: “To gain freedom.” Gates: “Freedom from what?” Ude: “Freedom from you, mr. gates.”
1st place: France
ODF is France's government standard for editable documents. About 500,000 workstations on desktops across ministries create/edit/handling ODF documents daily.
Italy has many regions, provinces and city administrations that use ODF and LibreOffice
(with thanks to LibreOffice's Italo Vignoli)
Step 1: the UK
Step 2: The Canary Islands (Spain)
Step 4. Gendarmerie (France)
Step 5. The city of Ede (The Netherlands):
Courtesy to the Herculean
and the stirring