Switzerland’s statutory law might be changed to allow federal public administrations to publish their software as open source, reports the Swiss Parliamentary Group on Digital Sustainability. The Federal Council (Upper House) is to consider if changes to the law are needed, upon request by the National Council (Lower House).
The move follows a resolution from Lower House MP Balthasar Glättli (Green, ZH), adopted on 20 March.
It is the third time that the Swiss Councils are discussing a legal basis to allow federal public administrations to makes software they have developed available as open source. In 2012 MP Thomas Weibel asked the Lower House to provide explicit permission. This resulted in a 2014 report from legal specialists at the University of Zurich, saying there is no legal basis for it in Swiss law.
In a statement, the Parliamentary group for Digital Sustainability says that sharing of open source solutions is economically useful and already allowed. It is perfectly normal and prudent that public authorities share their software using open source licenses, the group writes, as the development is paid for by taxpayers. Regardless, it welcomes an unambiguous decision from the council.
It is strange that the question lingers on, says MP Glättli, one of the members of the group, in the statement. Making solutions available as open source is government policy since 2005. The parliament of the Canton of Bern last year voted in favour of a law that mandates the sharing of the canton’s software as open source.