For public IT systems

New Finnish government to promote open source

14/08/2019

The new government of Finland, formally appointed on 6 June, will promote the use of open source software for public services’ IT systems. The preference for open source, open (programming) interfaces and open data is part of the Government Programme that was published on 3 June. A machine translation from the Government Programme entitled: “A participatory and knowledgeable Finland - a socially, economically and ecologically sustainable society”:

The image shows the cover of the Government Programme. “The government will deepen its information management policy. Openness of public information is made the guiding principle. The government promotes the priority of open source in public information systems and their procurement. The government imposes an obligation to require open interfaces for the acquisition of public information systems, unless there are compelling reasons not to. The government will continue to systematically open public data and develop quality criteria to facilitate their use.”

Setting priorities

The push towards open source was reiterated this week by Marja Rantala, Director General of the National Land Survey of Finland and the temporary director of Statistics Finland, in a blog post on the latter organisation’s website. Ms Rantala welcomes the focus on IT policy and information management. She warns that it will require setting priorities and team play.

The Finland’s Centre for Open Source Solutions (COSS) welcomes the focus on open source, open interfaces and open data. On the organisation’s website, COSS board member Martin von Hillebrand writes that he expects positive multiplier effects: “This openness has been promoted inside public services for years, but this is the first time it is part of the government programme.” He adds that political guidance is needed to reach all actors in public services, including local and regional services.

More information:

Government Programme (PDF, in Finnish)
Blog post by Marja Rantala, Director General of the National Land Survey of Finland and the temporary director of Statistics Finland (in Finnish)
COSS news item (in Finnish)

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