Technological practice

Barcelona translates free software guidelines into English


The city of Barcelona has begun translating its free software guidelines into English. The guidelines help city staff with the day-to-day management of projects based on free software, including implementation, development, and how to participate in communities of developers and users.

The Catalan version of Barcelona’s Guia per gestionar projectes de programari lliure (Free Software Projects Management Guidelines) was made available on the city’s GitHub pages in March. The first English translation was added on 14 June.The image is a screenshot from GitHub, showing frontpage of the English translation

The guidelines help the city make the most of technologies based on free software, while minimising risks. A second motive for recording these best practices is to maintain the city’s reputation as a reliable institutional collaborator in free software projects.

From the document’s English translation:
“Despite the enormous diversity that currently exists among free software projects, a series of practices have gradually arisen that are shared by most projects and organisations which have a certain degree of success. These cover technical and legal aspects, as well as project management. Some of these practices can be considered necessary, in the sense that the operational dynamics of free software projects reward certain types of conduct and penalise others.”

The guidelines cover

  • development;
  • technical infrastructure;
  • management;
  • communities; and
  • legal aspects.

The council approved the city’s free software policy in October 2017, a decision that included the approval of nine guidelines and best practices published as PDFs. These documents are also now being made available on GitHub, making it easier for others to copy, study, change and reuse them. All of the documents will also be made available here.

In its digital plan Barcelona says that using free software and open standards contributes to openness and interoperability. The digital plan details six other advantages, including sovereignty, flexibility, sustainability and innovation.

The city is already sharing several software solutions as free software. Examples include Decidim, a citizens participation portal, and Sentilo, software for managing smart-city sensors.

More information:

Barcelona’s GitHub pages
Barcelona’s Digital Plan (PDF)
Barcelona software collection on Joinup
FSFE interview with Francesca Bria, CTO of Barcelona
Mancomun news item (in Spanish)

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