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Swiss administrations may share their software

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Use of an open source licence is perfectly fine, lawyers say

Public administrations in Switzerland have the right to share their software under an open source licence, legal specialists Prof. Dr. Tomas Poledna and Prof. Dr. Simon Schlauri conclude in a report for the Canton of Bern (Switzerland). The canton says that the report clears the way for the Canton's IT department to make available to others the business solutions that were developed for the Bern administration.

The first two pages of the Swiss legal study

“Making software available as open source increases the number of users and developers, reduces the dependence on IT vendors, and will lead to lower costs for maintenance and development”, the Canton said in a press release.

The study was carried out in 2014 at the request of the Bern Canton Parliament, which wanted its finance office to ‘exploit synergies with the software in use in the Canton’.

The 131-page study is groundbreaking, according to the Swiss open source advocacy group CH Open. For any Swiss public administration, this report could be the basis for the release of open source software, the group says, adding: “Publication of publicly-funded software development should be as natural as the release of open government data.”

More information:

Press release by the Canton of Bern (in German)
Report on legal requirement on the use of open source in Swiss public administrations (in German, pdf)