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  1. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
  2. <html newsdate="2013-07-03">
  3. <head>
  4. <title>German Parliament elections: The parties' positions on Free Software</title>
  5. </head>
  6. <body>
  7. <h1>German Parliament elections: The parties' positions on Free Software</h1>
  8. <p newsteaser="yes">
  9. Today, the Free Software Foundation Europe publishes its
  10. Free Software related election questions for this fall's elections
  11. to the German parliament, which will take place on
  12. September 22.
  13. All political parties have responded to the questions, which cover
  14. issues like users' control over their electronic devices, the
  15. release of publicly funded computer programs as Free Software, and
  16. software patents.
  17. </p>
  18. <p>
  19. From the responses, it's clear that most parties now know more about
  20. Free Software than they did in the past. Below is the translation -- <a href="/contribute/translators/translators.html">done by FSFE's volunteers</a> -- of FSFE's summary
  21. and an evaluation of the <strong><a
  22. href="/campaigns/askyourcandidates/201309-germany-bundestagswahl.html">complete
  23. answers</a></strong>. In addition, FSFE encourages Free
  24. Software activists to use these questions as an inspiration for
  25. their own questions to candidates on federal and local level.
  26. </p>
  27. <p>
  28. First, something pleasant: SPD, the Greens, the Pirate party, the
  29. Linke and the Free Voters want software where development was funded
  30. by the public administration to be published under a free
  31. licence. The SPD states that "publicly funded software should be
  32. available to the general public as far as possible". The Greens
  33. demand the publication of such programs as Free Software in their
  34. manifesto (see <a
  35. href="">FSFE's
  36. overview on the election and party manifestos in Germany</a>
  37. (German)). In their reply, they justify this demand with benefits
  38. such as "bigger and more sustainable innovation potentials,
  39. broadening of competence in handling software, but also
  40. security-related advantages". They continually criticise the
  41. migration away from Free Software in the Foreign Office. The Pirates
  42. and the Left Party both advocate a general publication of all
  43. software and content funded by the state. The FDP does not directly
  44. address the question, but generally claims to "consider both
  45. proprietary and Free software" in public procurement.
  46. </p>
  47. <p>
  48. The CDU however points out "budget law restrictions" for the
  49. publication and advancement of Free Software by the public
  50. administration. In their answer, they refer to a paragraph in the
  51. Bundeshaushaltsordnung (BHO § 63 para. 2). The federal government
  52. however states the following in its accompanying legal document to
  53. the <a
  54. href="">migration
  55. guidelines (German)</a>: This paragraph "does not constitute a
  56. limitation for the dissemination of software" (p. 41) and "in the
  57. practically most important case, the further development of GPL
  58. licenced software, a public authority can share its own development
  59. portions to private parties without levy of licence fees"
  60. (p. 43). In contrast, these guidelines highlight a problem in the
  61. gratis distribution to private parties for development of new
  62. software or continuing development of non-copyleft software. It is
  63. worth noting that in its past eight years in government, the CDU has
  64. not improved the BHO law if they perceive it to be
  65. problematic. Furthermore, the CDU/CSU state that in every single
  66. case, it should be checked "if obvious modifications of the software
  67. would allow it to be used for illegal purposes" and if this was the
  68. case, the software should not be published.
  69. </p>
  70. <p>
  71. The <a href="">refusal to release a
  72. GNU/Linux version of the ElsterFormular tax software (German)</a>
  73. meets with a lack of understanding, regret and criticism among the
  74. parties. The FDP points to the platform independence of the upcoming
  75. version of Elsteronline, which will not need Java to run. Still,
  76. they regret that the Elsterformular is not available in a platform
  77. independent way. The Free Voters perceive the given platform
  78. dependency as incomprehensible in view of system security. The tying
  79. to a single operating system development company is unacceptable for
  80. the SPD and they want to engage to "make according software
  81. available for alternative operating systems as well". The Greens
  82. want to advocate the possibility to use the ElsterFormular for users
  83. of Free operating systems. The Left Party voices its criticsm: "The
  84. provision of the Elster-Formular solely for Microsoft Windows and
  85. the refusal to release the GNU-Linux and Mac OS X versions by the
  86. Bayerisches Landesamt für Steuern (Bavarian tax administration), which is in charge of the
  87. development, is not acceptable." The Pirates demand the publication
  88. of the software – even if it was of bad quality – and its
  89. documentation under a Free licence to allow others to further
  90. develop the software.
  91. </p>
  92. <p>
  93. All parties agree that public authorities should demand all rights
  94. (access to the source code, the right for further developments (also by third
  95. parties), the right to distribute the software to others) when
  96. contracting out software development. The FDP states: "This creates independence
  97. from the producer, strategic reliability and freedom of choice when selecting a
  98. service provider." SPD and the Greens mainly justify their demands from an IT
  99. security point of view. According to the Linke, the state "should
  100. ensure that it has discretion over how the software will be
  101. distributed, and use this discretion in the common interest". The
  102. CDU attaches "special importance to [...] the possibility of further
  103. development of the software from the beginning" in the future. The Pirates and the Greens point to the fact
  104. that governmental usage rights are a necessary condition to publish software
  105. of the public administration under a Free licence as demanded by the parties.
  106. The Free Voters state that they will consider fines for officials and
  107. employees who sign contracts without these usage rights.
  108. </p>
  109. <p>
  110. Asked about the control over mobile devices, the parties mainly focus on
  111. aspects of data protection. The SPD sees "challenges especially regarding the
  112. right of informational self-determination". The Greens, Linke, Pirates and SPD
  113. demand data protection-friendly technology as a basic adjustment ("Data
  114. protection by technology"), while CDU/CSU, FDP and the Free voters target a
  115. better education of citizens. However, the parties do not answer the question
  116. about the rights the users should have on the software on these devices – a
  117. question that for example is asked by FSFE's <a
  118. href="/campaigns/android/android.html"> campaign</a>.
  119. </p>
  120. <p>On the subject <a
  121. href="/campaigns/generalpurposecomputing/secure-boot-analysis.html">"Secure
  122. Boot"</a> all parties are in agreement: the <a
  123. href="/news/2012/news-20121120-01.html">White Paper of the federal
  124. government</a> contains important demands which they want to
  125. support and implement. "With the implementation of Secure Boot the
  126. owners of IT devices get limited in the possibility to entirely
  127. control contents and applications", writes the Left Party. The FDP
  128. wants to "assure that users can make an informed decision about
  129. their devices", and the CDU wants to pursue this issue on national
  130. and international level. In their detailed answer the Pirates
  131. write: "Systems which prevent the user from installing specific software
  132. are inacceptable on political and economical grounds. This inevitably
  133. leads to promotion of oligopolies or monopolies in the software
  134. market. But more important is the socio-political relevance of
  135. control over IT systems [....]". The Greens doubt how the federal
  136. government will implement the key issue paper "with the extensive
  137. ties to Microsoft services" and SPD demands an "initiative on
  138. European level [...] to let these targets not only be a political
  139. declaration of intention, but to really stick to them."</p>
  140. <p>Except for CDU and Free voters, all parties explicitly support
  141. the royalty-free licensing of standards. The Greens point to their
  142. demand in the <a
  143. href="">Enquete Kommission
  144. "Internet und Digitale Gesellschaft" (EIDG, commission of inquiry
  145. in internet and digital society)</a> where they want to place the
  146. public administration under an obligation to bring forward
  147. interoperability and sustainability of their IT systems "to be
  148. independent from interests of individual market participants at
  149. the further development of the systems." Criticism of SAGA, the
  150. German guideline for IT standards in federal government
  151. organisations, comes from the Left Party and Pirates. The Left
  152. Party (LINKE) don't see in the specifications without restrictions and licence
  153. fees an automatism for increased implementation of Free
  154. Software. "On this, active political will and proactive action of
  155. federal government is required", so says the LINKE. The Pirates
  156. criticise that ODF in SAGA is only a recommended format what
  157. results to the fact "that non-free software and closed formats can
  158. still be used in administrative practice." For this reason, they
  159. consider SAGA to be merely a "paper tiger".</p>
  160. <p>Unfortunately the CDU sees no problem in <a
  161. href="/campaigns/pdfreaders/pdfreaders.html">advertisement on
  162. public administration's websites</a> for non-free software as long
  163. as such adverts serve usability. The other parties reject this
  164. kind of advertisements, and want to prevent them in future. The
  165. Greens refer in their answer to their request "Advertisement for
  166. proprietary software on websites of federal ministries and public
  167. administration" (printed matter 17/8951) in which they picked up
  168. on this issue, and to the following discussion of this subject in
  169. the IT planning council. The Free Voters offered their help for
  170. solutions on municipal level.</p>
  171. <p>FSFE's ongoing work against software patents shows effects: By
  172. now all parties on federal level agree that patenting of software
  173. should be limited effectively. To this they refer to the <a
  174. href="/news/2013/news-20130612-01.html">inter-fractional request titled
  175. "Secure competition and dynamic of innovation in software sector -
  176. limit patenting of computer programs effectively"</a>.</p>
  177. <p>
  178. The CDU/CSU is generally in favour of using "Serious Games",
  179. i.e. learning games with the primary goal of imparting knowledge in
  180. an entertaining way, in schools and universities and thinks about
  181. releasing those games under a Free licence. The FDP wants to get
  182. more children into programming and "ensure that newly acquired
  183. learning aids can be used platform independently". The Free Voters
  184. want to promote Free Software in the municipal sector. The Greens
  185. especially demand a consistent procurement practice for software
  186. funded by the public sector, continue to criticise regression like
  187. for example in the <a
  188. href="/news/2011/news-20110511-01.html">Foreign Office</a> and want
  189. to serve as a good example by releasing their own software
  190. ("betatext"). The Linke sees Free Software in the context of common
  191. property economics and thinks about ways of funding Free Software
  192. development, e.g. using parts of the broadcasting fees. The SPD
  193. wants to primarily promote Free Software in the administration. In
  194. the commission of enquiry on the internet and the digital society
  195. (EIDG) the party had demanded that the state should "provide
  196. subsidies for usability analysis and the improvement of user
  197. friendliness of selected projects".
  198. </p>
  199. <ul>
  200. <li><a href="/campaigns/askyourcandidates/askyourcandidates.html"> More
  201. election interviews</a> done by Free Software Foundation Europe and <a
  202. href="/campaigns/btw09/btw09.html"> publications about the last Bundestag
  203. election</a>.</li>
  204. <li>References to Free Software in <a
  205. href="">election
  206. and party manifestos in Germany (German)</a>.</li>
  207. </ul>
  208. </body>
  209. <tags>
  210. <tag>front-page</tag>
  211. <tag>ayc</tag>
  212. <tag>de</tag>
  213. <tag>Policy</tag>
  214. <tag>PublicAdministration</tag>
  215. </tags>
  216. <timestamp></timestamp>
  217. <translator>Martin Gollowitzer</translator>
  218. </html>
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