The government of Portugal is expanding its use of free and open source software solutions, to modernise the country’s ICT and to “target an effective expenditure”, says Pedro Viana, a ICT specialist working for the country’s Agency for Administrative Modernisation (AMA). Open source has been implemented since 2013, he says, “whenever a rigorous and objective evaluation analysis of maturity and total cost of ownership shows that it is advantageous.”
The procurement consultant provided an update on Portugal’s move to free software, speaking at a conference in Lisbon on 23 January. The meeting was organised by AMA and ESOP, a trade group for open source ICT service providers.
In 2016, Portugal aims to save EUR 10 million by moving to free and open source. According to AMA, Portugal’s government ICT budget has grown by 75 percent between 2006 and 2011. A decentralised approach, with public administrations free to build their own ICT architecture, resulted in public administrations’ systems that do not interoperate well and are hard to integrate. Many ICT resources are not used efficiently, including the processes to acquire, implement and manage ICT systems.
The switch to open source is intended to boost Portugal’s nascent technology sector. The government aims to provide opportunities to small and medium sized companies and to involve civil society.
To signal the importance of the policy overhaul, Portugal’s Council of Ministers successfully piloted open source software.
AMA is making information and a list of practical open source software solutions available at Software Publico. “It is part of an information dissemination campaign”, says Viana, “which includes incentives to get civil servants, ICT companies and citizens involved”. To further curb costs, the ICT agency is leading the renegotiation of existing software license agreements.
The organisation is also introducing cloud solutions and building new service channels, and is collecting and communicating best practices, Viana says. “The goal is to create an open government.”
The emphasis on open standards and free and open source software is one of 25 measures to be implemented by Portugal’s public administrations before the end of next year. Other actions include improved ICT governance, rationalisation and improved project evaluation. The strategy was defined in 2012 and 2013.