The Swiss Canton of Zürich will make software developed for or by its public services available as open source. On 30 September the Canton parliament accepted a proposal to change the way it develops software to increase the role of open source. The government now has two years to work out how to adapt its rules and regulations.
The plan is for the Canton’s IT department to increase collaboration with other public services on open source software solutions. For new IT projects, open source alternatives must be considered, and if they are not selected, this must be explained. Similarly, new IT projects should be shared as open source; exceptions must be explained. If a public service decides to share software only with other public services, it must justify the extra legal and administrative effort compared to the ease of sharing under an open source licence.
The proposal, submitted back in February, was adopted by the Zürich parliament without discussion, Simon Schlauri, the main author of the proposal and member of the Zürich parliament, told the European Commission’s Open Source Observatory. “We are taking a step forward”, MP Schlauri wrote in a blog on the Parldigi website.
The step follows on the heels of a national push for more open source in public services. In February, the Swiss federal government renewed its 2019 Open Source sub-strategy. The overhauled strategy sets out five objectives, including increased use of co-development.
In addition, the Swiss government plans will lower the legal barriers for open source, create an inventory of its own open source solutions and promote them, and use the open source culture to attract new hires.