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  1. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
  2. <html newsdate="2020-04-24">
  3. <version>1</version>
  4. <head>
  5. <title>Netherlands commits to Free Software by default</title>
  6. </head>
  7. <body>
  8. <h1>Netherlands commits to Free Software by default</h1>
  9. <p>In an open letter to the Parliament, the Dutch
  10. minister for internal affairs Raymond Knops commits to a "Free Software
  11. by default" policy and underlines its benefits for society. Current
  12. market regulations shall be reworded to allow publishing Free Software
  13. by the government. </p>
  14. <p>In the 2018 budget debate, Members of the Dutch Parliament raised
  15. questions about actively publishing Free Software by the government,
  16. and an 'open source by default' policy for procurement. These questions
  17. appealed to a <a
  18. href="">report</a>
  19. earlier in 2017 on a government-ordered inquiry in the options for
  20. publishing software under a Free and Open-Source-Software-License. The
  21. report states that adopting Free Software could make the government
  22. more transparent, as well as reduce costs and stimulate the economy.
  23. Additional efforts are deemed necessary to reap these benefits by
  24. ensuring readable and secure code and supporting the community at
  25. large. However, it also underlined the possibility that the government
  26. publishing Free Software could be considered unfair competition under
  27. current market regulations. Doing so would only be legal if the
  28. government abides by a strict set of regulations, which in its current
  29. form would render such publication nearly impossible.</p>
  30. <figure>
  31. <img src="" alt="Picture of Dutch minister Raymond Knops" />
  32. <figcaption>Dutch minister Raymond Knops at an Open Data award ceremony. CC-BY-2.0 Sebastiaan ter Burg</figcaption>
  33. </figure>
  34. <p>After some delay, the Dutch minister for internal affairs, Raymond
  35. Knops, has finally answered these questions by publishing a <a
  36. href="">letter
  37. to the Parliament</a>. In this letter, the minister agrees to the
  38. principle of Free Software by default ("Open Source by default") for
  39. procurement, which can be considered a parallel to the 'comply or
  40. explain' policy that is already in effect for the adoption of open
  41. standards. The minister also agrees to the government actively
  42. developing and publishing Free Software. The letter comes with a
  43. summation of benefits that are similar to the ones mentioned in our <a
  44. href="">"Public Money? Public Code!"
  45. campaign</a>. Still, some reservations are mentioned: exceptions shall
  46. be made for information that could compromise national or governmental
  47. security and for information considered a privacy risk. Additionally,
  48. the letter states that it might not be worth taking on the additional
  49. effort of converting existing software into Free Software, making this
  50. policy mostly applicable for new projects.</p>
  51. <p>In the <a
  52. href="">attachment
  53. to the letter</a>, the minister takes note of ongoing efforts in the public
  54. sector and makes detailed promises of enabling and encouraging a Free Software
  55. community in the public sector. One of these is a promise to investigate
  56. possible changes to the current market regulations in order to make exceptions
  57. for publishing Free Software by the government. This will remove the current
  58. legal grey area. A new procurement policy will also be adopted: Free Software by
  59. default is the way to go, and the government and its institutions will actively
  60. start to publish Free Software. The minister will report on the progress of
  61. these measures in the beginning of 2021.</p>
  62. <p>"At the FSFE we welcome this policy and we will monitor the progress
  63. together with our strong partners in the Netherlands." says Nico
  64. Rikken, the FSFE's coordinator for the Netherlands. "We also invite
  65. Dutch national and local governments to sign our open letter that
  66. demands that publicly financed software developed for the public sector
  67. be made publicly available under a Free Software licence."</p>
  68. <blockquote>The Public Money? Public Code! campaign aims to set Free
  69. Software as the standard for publicly financed software. Public
  70. administrations following this principle can benefit from collaboration
  71. with other public bodies, independence from single vendors, potential
  72. tax savings, increased innovation, and a better basis for IT security.
  73. The Free Software Foundation Europe together with over 180 civil
  74. society organisations and more than 27.000 individuals signed the Open
  75. Letter. We will use the signatures to contact decision makers and
  76. political representatives all over Europe and convince them to make
  77. public code the standard. You are invited to <a
  78. href="">add your signature</a> to make a bigger
  79. impact.</blockquote>
  80. </body>
  81. <tags>
  82. <tag key="front-page"/>
  83. <tag key="pmpc">Public Money? Public Code!</tag>
  84. <tag key="public-administration">Public Administration</tag>
  85. <tag key="policy">Policy</tag>
  86. <tag key="nl">Netherlands</tag>
  87. </tags>
  88. <image url="" />
  89. <author id="rikken"/>
  90. <discussion href="" />
  91. </html>