When procuring new IT solutions, the German Free State of Thuringia will now prefer open source software where that is technically possible and economic. The change in Thuringia’s procurement rules was accepted in a vote by the state parliament earlier this month and will be officially available some time in August.
The push for open source is an initiative of the state’s Green party. “This crowns our efforts to strengthen digital resilience,” writes Member of Parliament Madeleine Henfling in a blog post. For the Green party, the idea of digital resilience includes having control over software and hardware. In addition, Henfling writes, open source will lower costs, facilitate the transfer of knowledge, and let the state contribute to the common good.
She adds that the Greens want to move away from systems that are not free and open source. The party wants to increase the use of free and open source software in schools and high schools as well as in public services. “Digitalisation should serve the people, and not just help a few to power,” the MP writes.
The new procurement rule will include a definition of open source: software solutions whose source code is publicly accessible and whose licences do not restrict their use, distribution and modification.
In addition, procurers now need to take into account the future security and interoperability of software solutions.
In January, the state launched the Thüringer Open Source Preis (Thuringian Open Source Award) to increase the visibility of free and open source software. The initiative is linked to the changes in procurement, MP Henfling explains in her blog post. Using, contributing to and preferring open source software will help promote Thuringia as an IT location, she says.
Awards of EUR 7500, 5000 and 2500 were given to three local IT services providers: Tritium, Xceptance Software Technologies and GraphDefined respectively. A special award related to hackathons was given to OpenSourceFirst and Roland F. Teichert.