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<title>Input about Free Software for German OGP action plan published</title>
<h1>Input about Free Software for German OGP action plan published</h1>
<p>Today the civil society "working group OGP (Open
Government Partnership) Germany" (Arbeitskreis OGP Deutschland) <a href="">published its
input for a German OGP action plan</a>. The goal of the Open Government actions
is to increase transparency, citizen friendlyness, reporting, and
effectiveness of governments and administrations. The input, which was
already handed over to the German Government on 20 March, consists of 30 Open
Government topics, including a section about Free Software.</p>
<p>In December 2016 Germany joined the Open Government Partnership. Until
June 2017 a German action plan is to be developed and decided by the German
<p>To achieve this, on 17 February 2017 the German government invited
representatives from the civil society to a workshop to develop input for a
German action plan for the upcoming two years. After the workshop members of
civil society groups further developed the suggestions published today. In
the weeks to come the German federal ministries will examine the different
suggestions, debate internally, and draft a national action plan with
concrete goals. There will also be another workshop to discuss the
goals between administrations and the civil society (see <a href="">the German timetable for the action plan by the German Government</a>).</p>
<p>The OGP action plan will not just address the federal government but should
also affect administrations in the German federal states and municipalities.</p>
<h2>Input from the civil society about Free/Open Source Software</h2>
<p>The Free Software Foundation Europe worked together with other German Free
Software organisations and the "working group OGP Germany" to summarise the
topic of Free Software in the Open Government context and develop concrete
action items for the government.</p>
<p>By publishing the input we hope to enable civil society actors around the
world to learn about the OGP discussion in Germany, adapt suggestions to
other countries' contexts, and to enable people to give further input to the
German debate.</p>
<p>Below a rough translation of our input originally written in German. (The
submission is available in German at the website for the workgroup
<h3>Introduction into the topic</h3>
<p>Open Government offers the possibility to make the activities of the state
more persistent and plausible for its citizens. Open software achieves this
with its open/free licensing which is proved as an international standard.
The "Open Government Toolbox" sums up 1928 IT projects from 523 organisations
to help in the transition to Open Government. The spectrum of this stunning
collection shows the potential of Open Government software. From data
visualisation to participation tools and on up to tools for local urban
initiatives, numerous projects for administration and civil society are
already freely accessible.</p>
<li><strong>Recycling</strong>: Open Software can be used for various
purposes and can be re-used. Once it is developed in the scope of a
governmental tender, the software code can then be used by other
administrations for similar problems. A good example is "Fix My Street":
originally developed as a reporting tool for damage on roads in the
United Kingdom, it is now also being used in Switzerland, Ireland,
Malaysia, Norway, Sweden, Uganda and Uruguay. As additionally developed
extensions to the software and user experiences are shared between
nations, all users benefit from the increasing use.</li>
<li><strong>Independence</strong>: The use of Open Software offers more
opportunities for procurement and selection of partners. A
strategic "lock-in", a dependency on certain vendors, is avoided as the
code can be maintained by other market competitors as well.</li>
<li><strong>Neutrality of platforms</strong>: With open standards the
public authorities can achieve more platform neutrality. Thereby they are
no longer dependent on certain vendors and can choose a new one at any
<li><strong>Transparency</strong>: While conventional government software
is a blackbox and is a proprietary secret, the source code of Open
Government software is basically always available.</li>
<li><strong>Participation</strong>: The Open Source code combined with a
free license allows synergies of government agencies (with civil
society), enterprises and citizens. Software provided by the state can
be maintained and used by external users - and vice versa. Open
Government software projects initiated by the state give an impetus for
collaborative projects where various perspectives from administration,
civil society, enterprises and citizens come together.</li>
<p>For the implementation of the Open Government road map, new software will
be developed. Open Government software should be accessible under a suitable
Free/Open license [1] to enable re-use and sharing of solutions between
authorities, companies and citizens.</p>
<h3>Our vision until 2030:</h3>
<p>Federal, regional and local administrations share their solutions with
other administrations, companies and civil society. For new solutions, the
participants can refer to a collection of pre-existing solutions, re-use and
improve these and share them with everyone. All solutions guarantee use
independent of the used platform. Neither citizens, companies nor
administrations should be technically discriminated against. These German
software solutions enjoy an excellent reputation in administrations, civil
society, and commercial enterprises around the world. People enjoy using
them and they are further developed by other programming groups. Therefore
this results in investment protection and a higher sustainability for the
public sector, which will be developed further by third-parties, even if
individual German administrative authorities opt for other solutions.</p>
<h3>Further information sources and links:</h3>
<li>[1] Free/Open Source licensing model: See also the list of the <a href="">Free Software Foundation</a> and of the <a href="">Open Source Initiative</a></li>
<li><a href="">OGP Toolbox</a></li>
<li><a href="">EU Joinup solutions</a></li>
<li><a href="http:///">USA Portal Code.Gov</a></li>
<li><a href="">UK: Proof of concept</a></li>
<li><a href="">Fixmystreet UK</a> - <a href="">Fixmystreet OGS</a></li>
<li><a href="">EUPL</a></li>
<li><a href="/freesoftware/freesoftware.html">Introduction into "Software Freedom" by FSFE</a></li>
<h3>Suggestions for commitments by the workshop for a NAP two-pager</h3>
<h4>Level 1: Suggestions for organising the process</h4>
<li>Establishment of an expert group, containing members of federal, state
and municipal administrations for re-use and sharing of open software for
the state and the administration (Re-use and Share OSS). Therefore, at
least twice a year, an internal dialogue can take place. There, the group
can tap into the topic of Open Source software and understand it in terms
of overlapping administrative needs. Due to this overlap, employees from
all levels of the public administrations should be utilised as
contributors and architects, and encouraged to integrate, share, and
promote more re-use of the administration's software.</li>
<li>Establishment of a workgroup with members from administration, civil
society and companies for re-use and sharing of Free Software for the
state and the administration. The workshop should take place at least
twice a year to enable an exchange to listen to each other and receive
feedback by the civil society for further conceptional development. There
should be a strong link between the workgroup and the referring expert
group (see paragraph above) in the administration. Thereby a transfer of
knowledge into the public administration, and indirectly into politics,
is ensured.</li>
<li>Commissioning of a study running until December 2018 to do basic
research about the cooperation in public administrations in usage of
free/open software. It should consider both users and
business/development associations so that national and international
knowledge and practical experience from study and usage are taken into
account. The full potential, with the help of workshops (Collaborative
Design), should be outlined. With this approach, all relevant
perspectives and proposals for implementation are available for the
second National Action Plan.</li>
<li>Conducting two <a href="">"Plug
Fest"</a> events in Germany until 2018 as Open Collaborative Workshops,
where special departments of local authorities can be brought into
technical dialogue with providers of document editing solutions. With
those multi stakeholder events many countries in Europe have made
positive experiences for increasing interoperability. </li>
<li>Commission of a scientific study about open standards and open
interfaces in public administrations (including open document formats) by
June of 2018. With this the national and international knowledge and
practical experience (Germany: SAGA 5.1.0, EU, Austria, Switzerland,
France, Italy, Netherlands) will be taken into account. The full
potential with the help of workshops (Collaborative Design) should be
outlined so all relevant possibilities and proposals should be available
for the second National Action Plan.</li>
<li>Commission of an evaluation study about the accessibility and platform
neutrality of public web interfaces by the federal authorities until
January 2018. Through this we can achieve transparency about how certain
user groups are technically discriminated against by the websites of the
authorities and how these sites are accessible regardless of used
devices. Based on this evaluation, best practices will be introduced
simultaneously. Also, basic principles acting as suggestions for
creating accessible and vendor-neutral websites for authorities as well
as for public institutions will be presented.</li>
<h4>Level 2: Precise legislative steps and regulation requirements</h4>
<li>Establishment of the EU ISA2 law regarding the platform neutrality in
the acquisition of web service until 2019, so that citizens can use
public sector services regardless of the technology used by the citizens
(Operating systems: Mac OS, Linux, Windows, Android / Browser: Firefox,
Chrome, Internet Explorer.../ Hardware: Tablet, Desktop-PC, Smartphone,
Thin Internet Client).</li>
<li>Proposal for a law to set up a national software archive by 2019 which
clarifies where German authorities and suppliers should deposit and store
(long-term-archive) the source code, documentation, interface
specifications and database schemes of their software solutions. This
enables security checks and the preservation of our digital cultural
<h4>Level 3: Minimal measures (Mandatory programme)</h4>
<li>Software, which is being commissioned or developed in the course of
realising the OGP action plan, should re-use free/open software
components and should be made accessible on the <a
href="">EU software
platform joinup</a> and in the <a
href="">"OGP Toolbox"</a>
for other governments, companies and the civil
<li>Capacity-generating measures for the participation of Germany in the
further development of the <a
Free/Open Source Software Contributor Policy Template in the OGP</a>
(Bulgaria, France, the United Kingdom and the United States of America
have already pledged to do this).</li>
<li>Until mid 2018 evaluation of which software, of those created during the
implementation of the IT-planning council's action plan for 2017, can be
made available in the OGP Toolbox under a free/open license by 2019.
(See <a
<li>Federal government, federal states, and municipalities should
communicate information about the cooperation between the authorities and
other participants regarding software solutions to the EU portal Joinup
for publication. This will make this kind of cooperation more popular and
persuades other entities to participate.</li>
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