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'Finnish government should make software available as open source'

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The government of Finland should make all software developed for public administrations available as open source, say representatives of the country's open source businesses. The Finnish Centre for Open Systems and Solutions earlier this month delivered a letter to the Ministry of Finance. They suggest the Minstry includes this principle in its new ICT strategy.

The association writes: "When public funds are used to purchase software development work, the contract should make sure that the customer will get sufficiently broad access to the software for further development by internal developers or by a third party. (As a matter of principle,) publicly funded software and software components should be published under an open source license"

One of the authors of the letter, Matti Saastamoinen, comments: "Like was decided recently by the United Kingdom, we want the government to use open standards to achieve interoperability. And, like in the United Kingdom, it should take into account the full software life cycle, including exit costs."

The organisation, representing 110 open source IT service providers, posted the same three argument on Otakantaa, a government-run web forum for the discussion of policies and draft policies.

The new ICT strategy for public administrations was made public on 17 October by the Finnish Minister of Public Administration and Local Government, Henna Virkkunen. The group compliments the Minister on the new plans. "Taking into account these three remarks, we believe it is a good draft."

Open source is not mentioned anywhere in the strategy. However, the draft does write that "All public sector authorities must, where applicable, use existing open solutions and joint services." The ministry in the past weeks did not yet respond to questions if this refers to open source software.

More information:
Proposed ICT strategy for public administrations (pdf)
Coss statement (in Finnish)
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