The world of IT is in a constant changing process and with a new government in Germany, Open Source may finally be part of a modern digitalization strategy!
Personally, I like both approaches - commercial software on the one, Open Source-related products on the other hand. Apart from the choice of software, every integration will fail without a proper concept and the COVID-19-pandemic has shown that building a digital workforce paired with distance learning in schools often lacks when this process is being made without the guiding thread. On November 24th, the German „traffic light“-coalition from SPD, Greens and SPD finally published the results of their negotiations. One of the results: There is hope for Digital Sovereignty and the use of Open Source when talking about the digitalization of the German government and the public sector.
The commitment is strong and so are some of the quotes which are pronounced these days:
„We require open standards for public IT projects. Development contracts should typically be commissioned as open source, the corresponding software is generally made public. On the basis of a multi-cloud strategy and open interfaces as well as strict security and transparency requirements, we are building a public administration cloud.“
„Government data from all administrative levels are to be made available in standardized formats in the future. The agricultural data room in Gaia-X as the basis of a European data infrastructure with clear usage rights for farmers to the farm-specific data, which they helped to create, is being further developed with standardized interfaces. Open source formats are expressly supported.“
„We want to increase the strategic sovereignty of Europe.“
Doing this straight talking, the single parties must now follow their respective processes to ratify the agreement which reflects a broader trend in Germany, underlining the need for digital sovereignty. The government’s new commitment to Public Money, Public Code follows a principle advocated for for years by the Free Software Foundation Europe and many others. Basically this means that software paid for by tax payers should be available to those tax payers to build upon and improve, trying to prevent the growing dependency from the well-known enterprises providing most of the famous Cloud-services we know these days.
The ball of a digital change and real digitalization may now begin to roll - hoping that the talks so far were more than just hot air during the coalition negotiations. Strengthening and backing the European Digital Sovereignty is an enormous task but nothing will happen if nobody makes the first step so let’s hope the new government in Germany and standardized platforms like Gaia-X will be able to fulfill their purpose at a certain time!