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Are Governments Held Hostage? Why openSUSE Supports Public Money Public Code

September 13th, 2017 by

Public Money? Public Code! from Free Software Foundation Europe on Vimeo.

Europeans can disagree on political issues, but there is one issue the open-source community is bringing to the political spectrum that many citizens can find agreement about; publicly funded software has to be Free and Open Source Software.

“Public institutions spend millions of euros each year on the development of new software tailored to their needs,” according to a release from the non-profit advocacy group Free Software Foundation Europe. “The procurement choices of the public sector play a significant role in determining which companies are allowed to compete and what software is supported with tax payers’ money.

To bring awareness to this issue, FSFE started the “Public Money Public Code” campaign at https://publiccode.eu, which was originally revealed by Matthias Kirschner during the keynote at the openSUSE Conference, and the openSUSE Project encourages all its members and open source enthusiasts to sign the open letter addressed to European politicians about this important public issue. This can also be achieved with the sharing of videos on the topic.

There are many reasons for why code of publicly-funded software projects should be freely available for people to study, develop, enhance and use.

Helping to eliminate redundant government spending is one of those reasons, but there are more.

“Because the source code of proprietary software is often a business secret, it radically increases the difficulty of discovering both accidental and intentional security flaws in critical software,” said Edward Snowden, President of the Freedom of the Press Foundation about the “Public Money Public Code” campaign launch.

Digital services used by our public administrations are the critical infrastructure of 21st century democratic nations, according to the FSFE release.

“In order to establish trustworthy systems, public bodies must ensure they have full control over the software and the computer systems at the core of our state digital infrastructure,” according to the release.

Restrictive software licenses forbid the sharing and exchanging of publicly funded code, which prevents cooperation between public administrations and hinders further development. Moving to Public Money Public Code legislation would eliminate governments’ supporting monopolies that hindering competition as well as the many administrations that are dependent on a handful of companies.

The are implications that affect every citizen with the current proprietary usage model. The threat to the security of citizens’ digital data is real. The usages of proprietary software that forbids access to the source code makes fixing backdoors and security holes extremely difficult, if not completely impossible.

Take action today! Signing the open letter and voice your support for the Public Money Public Code to your government and European Union representatives.

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2 Responses to “Are Governments Held Hostage? Why openSUSE Supports Public Money Public Code”

  1. What an excellent visualization alongside the narrative. Whoever designed and rendered that animation should be awarded. Bravo!

  2. Great to see that openSUSE community joins this great campaing!
    I signed the letter, and also spread the word about the fsfe’s campaing for spanish speakers free software entusiasts:

    https://victorhckinthefreeworld.com/2017/09/13/si-el-dinero-que-te-financia-es-publico-el-software-deberia-ser-libre/

    free software, free society!

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