BE: Flemish Region to educate…

BE: Flemish Region to educate citizens about open source

Published on: 29/07/2009

The Flemish regional government wants to educate its citizens about "free software (open source)", it writes in its coalition agreement, published on 10 July.

The open source information is meant to help increase the increase the region's use of the Internet, including electronic government services, media, culture, health services and e-learning.

The new regional government, which took office on 13 July, wants every Fleming to have access high-quality media content, which combine technological innovations and new media. "We want to work on a New Digital Action Plan to develop Flanders as an advanced information society and to bridge the digital divide."

The Flemish plan should also help to reduce the administrative burden. "Gains in terms of quality, speed and transparency of services can often be achieved by improving the exchange of information between authorities."

"We will take care that in this Information Society everybody will have the same level of access, and will have equal chance to use such digital instruments."

Spokespersons at the Flemish cabinet's office could not yet be reached to comment on the coalition agreement.



The Belgian free and open source consultant Machtelt Garrels last May approached all fractions of the Flemish, Walloon and Brussels Parliament, enquiring about their policies on this type of software. Four political parties replied, all positively and Garrels published their answers on her website.

The Open VLD (Flemish Liberals and Democrats) replied the government should use open source and that they favour the use of open IT standards. The party is against introducing legislation on this.

The N-VA, a centre-right policital group, wants the government to replace proprietary software by open source. "The government should not be dependent on specific vendors."

In Walloon, the CDH (Humanist Democratic Centre) replied it is in favour of a transition of public administrations to open source, referring for instance to CommunesPlone, an open source project for the development of e-Government applications.

Ecolo, a Green party, replied being in favour of promoting this type of software in government and schools.



More information:

Statement by Minister-President (in Dutch)

Coalition agreement (in Dutch, pdf)

Garrels' web site