Why should governments develop Free Software? Where is Free Software already generating benefits in the public sector? What are Free Software business models? Answers to these questions and practical guidelines are given in the new expert policy brochure published today by the Free Software Foundation Europe. Produced with decision-takers in mind, the brochure will be a helpful source of information for candidates and parties running for the European Parliament election. Downloads and prints are available under a Creative Commons license.
Today the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) releases its policy brochure, "Public Money Public Code - Modernising Public Infrastructure with Free Software". This brochure aims to answer decision-takers' questions about the benefits of using and developing Free Software for public administrations. To help understand the important role that public procurement plays in this, the brochure presents an overview of EU Free Software projects and policies, uncovering legislation on software procurement. The FSFE will use this brochure in the upcoming European Parliament elections to inform MEPs how to speed up the distribution and development of Free Software in public administration and putting in place appropriate legislation.
The brochure evaluates the modernisation of public infrastructure with using Free Software from the perspectives of academia, law, business, and government. Expert articles, reports, and interviews help readers to understand the opportunities for Free Software in public administration. For decision-takers, practical guidance is provided to move forward and start modernising public infrastructure with Free Software.
FSFE President Matthias Kirschner states: "Free Software licences have proven to generate tremendous benefits for the public sector. This is not a trend that will pass, but rather a long-term development that is based on very positive experiences, and strategic considerations resulting from serious vendor lock-in cases in the past. In a few years, Free Software licences could become the default setting for publicly financed IT projects. The Free Software Foundation Europe watches these developments very carefully and we want to contribute our knowledge to support the public sector in this transition."
First steps for making Free Software licenses the default in publicly financed IT projects are outlined in the brochure. Other topics cover competition and potential vendor lock-in, security, democracy, "smart cities", and other important contemporary debates. The language and examples used have been specifically chosen for readers interested in politics and public administrations. If you are interested or looking for a professional print to communicate your arguments, get yourself a copy:
The brochure stars leading experts from various ICT areas. These include, among others, Francesca Bria - Chief of Technology and Digital Innovation Officer (CTIO) for the Barcelona City Council, Prof. Dr. Simon Schlauri - author of a detailed legal analysis on the benefits of Free Software for the Swiss canton of Bern, Cedric Thomas – CEO of OW2, Matthias Stürmer – head of the Research Center for Digital Sustainability at the University of Bern, and Basanta Thapa – from the Competence Center for Public IT (ÖFIT) within the Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems. The brochure is released in digital and print, and is published under a CC BY-SA 4.0 licence.
With the 'Public Money, Public Code' campaign, the FSFE demands that publicly financed software developed for the public sector is made publicly available under a Free and Open Source Software licence. The campaign's open letter has, until now, gained more than 19.000 signatures, as well as support from more than 150 organisations. If it is public money, it should be public code as well!