Germany 'a digital laggard'

FSFE: ‘German public sector falling behind other EU member states'


With their lacklustre approach to free software, German public services remain behind other European member states, says the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE). When asked, the current governing parties’ say they support free software, but their statements are contradicted by the lack of action, the advocacy group says.

In early September, the FSFE published its analysis of the free software policies put forward by the main political parties on the ballot, in preparation for Germany’s parliamentary elections on 24 September. This analysis (in German) is far more detailed than an earlier report generated by the Digital-O-Mat, a web portal set up to focus on political parties’ positions on 12 digital topics.

The CDU/CSU party considers free software to be useful, they tell the FSFE. However, the party says that paragraph 63 section 2 of the Bundeshaushaltsordnung blocks federal public services from sharing their software assets.

The FSFE points out that, according to a 2012 federal guideline on open source, that section of Germany’s budget law does not apply to this kind of software. In addition, the pressure group notes that CDU/CSU has done nothing to clarify the budget rule over the past twelve years they have been in government.

The FSFE projects its message on the Bundestag.   Image (C) 2017 FSFE

Two parties, the Greens and Die Linke, clearly favour the use of free software in the public sector, the FSFE writes. Free software is a cornerstone of secure and future-oriented IT systems, the Greens say. Die Linke adds emphasises the autonomy of public sector organisations, and the reusability of ICT solutions based on free software.

The advocacy group hopes that, after the elections government parties will do more to promote free software in the German public sector.

More information:

Federal elections 2017: what parties say about free software (in German)

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