Europe is choosing open source more than ever. Not just limited to EU Commissions’ decision to use Signal messaging app but also open science and the adoption of open source software by European universities.
Now, in a recent press release by the European Pirate Party, it looks like the EU Parliament is urging EU institutions to use open-source software. All thanks to the Pirate amendments for encouraging the use of open-source software.
The EU Parliament not just encourages the use of open-source software, but they have also advised to prioritize development of open-source software by the EU institutions.
So, not just aiming to adopt using open-source software but to develop open-source software. And, that’s definitely good news!
More use of open-source software, why not? To give you some more details, here’s what they mentioned in the press release:
In practice, from now on, all IT solutions developed by and for the EU institutions will first need to be assessed against the possibility of using Open Source solutions. Assessments will then have to be reported back to the Budgetary Control Committee of the Parliament on an annual basis, during the discharge procedure. This is a strong call for enhancing our important citizens right to transparent and trustworthy information.
Important decision to remove vendor lock-ins
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No matter who made this happen — this decision of preferring open-source software over proprietary will not just help the open-source community but also helps the EU institutions in a variety of ways.
Especially, relying on open-source software removes the overhead of vendor lock-ins. In other words, an EU institution does not have to rely on vendor to manage/maintain the software.
The press release also addressed this by mentioning:
It is essential for the European institutions to retain control over its own technical systems, especially in a context of disinformation and foreign interference. Open Source promotes local technical support, leads to rapid development of software and helps to avoid dependency on specific suppliers or vendor lock-in effects, which exist when only one company is in charge of software or even the entire IT infrastructure supply.
Any responsible local organization can take up the task while the community can still help in any way it can. This could also reduce the cost of maintaining the software among other things like improving the security of a software in a collaborative manner.
Is this a big win for open-source community?
Yes, and no. We’ve seen a lot of recommendations made by the governments (or the EU government in general) to choose open-source software to keep things more secure yet transparent.
Pirate’s Vice-President of EU Parliament, Marcel Kolaja, mentions some advantages of this decision as well:
It’s a milestone for transparent and open digitization of the European institutions. From now on, the Open Source ecosystem has a stepping ground for offering Open Source solutions and the Pirates will gladly play the role of the guardians and will try to solve and highlight any attempt to bypass this strong recommendation. It’s a really important step to remove vendor lock-ins in the Parliament“
So, this will definitely help them earn trust of their citizens by providing digital transparency while also encouraging public participation to improve the software as well. Of course, this will also help introduce the concept of open-source software to many who were unaware of it in some way.
Also, ensuring open-source software for publicly financed software will enhance the meaning of freedom of speech/privacy/press.
In a nutshell, these decisions do have a positive impact in one way or the other.
But, the implementations of these decisions will decide how effective it’s going to be to put the words in action.
I’m happy with the decision by EU Parliament here — even though I’m not a European. I guess, this should encourage other government bodies to take similar decisions or steps to ensure digital transparency while earning the trust of their citizens.
To get more details on the decision, you can refer to the official press release by the European Pirate Party.
What do you think about it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!