The city administration of Helsinki (Finland) will prefer open source software solutions for new IT solutions. The city council on 13 April adopted a new IT strategy, emphasising a preference for open source, especially when developing or commissioning the development of software solutions.
On his blog city councillor for the Greens Otso Kivekäs writes that the strategy concerns tailor made and customised applications. The city wants to be able to share such code using an open source licence. He expects that over time this will increase the use of free and open source in the city. “It is not an ideological principle, but a practical management of the information systems.”
“This does not mean Helsinki is switching to Linux or OpenOffice”, Kivekäs warns. Software solutions are selected based on price and quality, and when procuring IT solutions, the city will not exclude proprietary software. The city will also train its procurement officers, aiming to improve the city’s procurement of IT solutions.
On his blog, Kivekäs, a computer scientist and chair of the city board IT division, adds that in 2012 he tried in vain to get the IT department to use the European Union’s open source software licence EUPL for software it writes or that it commissioned to be developed. The specific licence requirement is not part of the new IT strategy.
Finland’s Centre for Open Source Solutions (COSS) welcomes the city’s new IT strategy. ”From a buyers’ perspective this is a strategic and wise choice“, an article on the COSS website quotes its chairman Martin von Willebrand as saying. Openness will result in better software, he argues, and offer new chances to IT solution providers.
Helsinki has taken an important step towards improving its IT systems, Helsinki councillor Kivekäs writes. “Next, the same principle should be introduced in the country as a whole.”