Four citizens of the German city of Dortmund have started a citizens’ initiative, asking the city council to seriously consider the use of free and open source software. “The city needs to recognise free software as a topic in the public interest”, the DO-FOSS initiators write.
The Dortmund city council sees citizens’ initiatives as a way to let citizens participate in city policy, and helps the groups to request the city council to consider their proposal.
The budding group of free software enthusiasts is looking for more members and is preparing to register as a charitable organisation, explains Nicolai Parlog, a computer scientist, open source software developer and one of the founders of DO-FOSS. “The past year we have been talking to city politicians and setting up the website.”
The four decided to aim for a citizens’ initiative, dismayed how a strategy paper for Dortmund’s IT department in 2012 resulted in no change at all in the city’s IT policy. “That is when we decided to get serious”, says Parlog.
The group is using their website to publish and track their activities. Here they report on the city’s political debates relevant to free and open source. In December for example, they noticed how the city board was told that the city’s reliance on proprietary software is hindering the city’s “self-determination, governance and decision-making”.
For those interested to join DO-FOSS, the group holds several meetings each month, in the city centre as well as in the Hörde city district.