Unanimous bar one abstention, the parliament of the Swiss Canton of Bern yesterday voted in favour of a bill to exploit 'synergies in its software use". The law instructs the canton's public administrations to increase their use of open source, make their own software publicly available and, when starting new IT projects, give priority to this type of solutions. The measure is expected to result in financial savings.
"The Canton of Bern is to become actively involved in existing and new open source development of specialised applications and the relevant bodies and associations in order to achieve the greatest possible benefits from the available resources", the bill reads.
Now that the bill has passed the parliament, the government (Regierungsrat) must implement the policy requirements. The bill lists six measures that boost free and open source software in the canton's public administrations.
For example, public administrations in the Canton of Bern that build a new software solution, or adapt an existing application, must make this available under an open source licence, or explain why this is not possible. Another measure instructs those public administrations that are already developing software together, but are not sharing this publicly, to investigate how to overcome legal and bureaucratic hurdles to making it open source.
"It could not have been a clearer signal", the Swiss Open Systems User Group /ch/open welcomed the bill in a statement. It quotes Marc Jost, one of the five MPs of the Canton of Bern who submitted the bill. "A few years ago the subject of open source was considered hesitantly, with the council rejecting our 2007 motion for an open source strategy. Now the parliament, government and public administrations are pulling together, which is excellent. I hope it will allow the canton to achieve concrete financial savings."
By population and surface, the Canton of Bern is the second largest of the country's 26 cantons.
Statement by Swiss Parliamentary Group for Digital Sustainability (in German)
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