Public Money, Public Code

City of Barcelona moving away from proprietary software


The City of Barcelona is migrating its computer systems away from the Windows platform, so reports the Spanish newspaper El País. The City's strategy is first to replace all user applications with open-source alternatives, until the underlying Windows operating system is the only proprietary software remaining. In a final step, the operating system will be replaced with Linux.

To accomplish this, the City will start commissioning IT projects to local SMEs, and at the same time hire 65 new developers to work on software programs. One of the projects will be to develop an online platform (a digital market) that allows small businesses to participate in public tenders.

For the coming year, 70 percent of the City's software budget will be invested in open source software. According to Francesca Bria, the Commissioner of Technology and Digital Innovation at the City Council, the transition will be completed before the current administration's mandate ends in spring 2019.

Ubuntu-based desktops

For starters, the Outlook mail client and Exchange Server will be replaced with Open-Xchange. In a similar fashion, Internet Explorer and Office will be replaced with Firefox and LibreOffice, respectively.

The Linux distribution eventually used will probably be Ubuntu, since the City of Barcelona is already running 1,000 Ubuntu-based desktops as part of a pilot.

Public Money, Public Code

Taxpayers' money should be invested in reusable systems open to the local ecosystem, Bria said to El País. Barcelona is the first municipality to have joined the European campaign 'Public Money, Public Code'.

This campaign is an initiative of the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) and revolves around an open letter advocating that publicly funded software should be free. Currently, this call to public agencies is supported by more than 100 organisations and almost 15,000 individuals.


With the new open-source strategy, Barcelona's City Council aims to avoid spending large amounts of money on licence-based software and to reduce its dependence on proprietary suppliers through contracts that in some cases have been closed for decades.

In addition, open source software promotes reuse, Bria said. Programs developed and made publicly available by the City of Barcelona can be deployed in other municipalities in Spain or around the world. The Sentilo Platform, for example, an open-source sensor and actuator network initially developed by the City of Barcelona, is now also being used (and co-developed) by the Spanish City of Terrassa, and has been deployed in Dubai and Japan.



Sun, 14/01/2018 - 07:55

How many desktops are used by Barcelona municipality? Knowing that would give an idea of the scope of this migration project.

Tue, 16/01/2018 - 14:08

This is the best news for Open Source lovers in 2018 so far. Let's hope that more European cities will follow Barcelona.

Thu, 15/02/2018 - 04:36

Well done Barcelona!
I don't know a reason to not use LibreOffice. You can use it for free in your company, and it works on any operating system.

Sat, 19/05/2018 - 12:20

This is definitely a winning factor for open source applications. I really appreciate this move of Barcelona towards Ubuntu Linux is a quite wise decision.

Sat, 10/11/2018 - 19:29

This is the best news for Open Source lovers in 2018 I really appreciate this move thanks

Mon, 07/01/2019 - 17:32

This is really a huge step to nurture the open source projects and also creates new doors for developers to develop new ideas; those are struggling because of huge domination of Windows. Even it improves the cybersecurity of the country.

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