● Senior Software Engineer @ TomTom
● Board member of Obshtestvo.bg (Society dot bg) foundation
● realistic idealist
Open Source for the Government??
“You can’t make the ladies behind the desks use OpenOffice and
It’s not about Linux...
● “...but in Munich”
● Microsoft Office is a de-facto standard, for good or for bad
● That’s a different story...
● The government is constantly placing orders for both specific and generic
● The government ignores the “rule”
o if the problem is widespread - use open source software
o if the problem is rare - use an existing commercial solution
o if the problem is unique - order a new piece of software
● The government doesn’t have the personnel to adapt and implement even
ready-to-use open source projects.
● Vendor lock-in
● Low-quality software
● Bugs and security holes
o (forest) logging registry (?the_wife_of_my_cousin=1)
o ...who knows what else?
● Most of that software is owned by the government
o ...and sits on CDs in basements
● Even projects using WordPress, Drupal, Joomla are de-facto closed source
Types of government software
● Websites of ministries/agencies/municipalities/programmes
● General clerk software
● Specific information systems
● Accountancy software
● egov - middleware, registries, portal, e-services
● what’s the relation between “government software” and “electronic
● The problems of electronic governance
o 90% law and administrative и 10% technical
o “political will” (cliche alarm)
(almost) all new projects must be open-sourced
● Easier extension and support
o from a government “system integrator”
o from other companies
o from NGOs and even citizens
o “but...nobody will be watching those projects!” - there are people that
will be watching them, don’t worry :)
Experience around the world
● UK- http://github.com/alphagov (330 projects)
● US - http://www.govcode.org/ (2000 projects)
● Estonia - e-voting, egov, X-Road
o “All our key projects become open source, including the systems for health care, police, business portals
and document exchange” Siim Sikkut, ICT Policy Adviser
● Every company, implementing software, ordered by the government,
supplies a URL to a public SCM repo
o git or mercurial; preferably GitHub or Bitbucket
o must use it actively (and not just synchronize an internal repo with it)
● Public documentation
● Stable master
● The government published the URL of the repo
● The licence used must be approved by FSF or OSI
Why would that work?
● no difference for the company writing the software - even now the product
is owned by the government in most cases
● no difference for the government - 10 lines more in the requirements
● total cost of ownership is the same in the worst case 
● new business models
“Are you listening to yourself, the government can’t open their
● Only the source is publicly available; not the server passwords
● A small portion of the government software is highly critical; a small
portion even have a publically-facing interface.
● WordPress is more secure than any website that any company will build.
● Open-source software is more secure
o ...except for openssl, bash and small, unpopular projects … :)
No silver bullet...
● not applicable to existing closed-sourced software
● hardly applicable to software that is already developed (even if owned by
● good code != good software
● not every project can be monitored carefully by society
● won’t solve the problems of e-governance, corruption, energy prices or
● can see opposition in the face of malicious companies
...but if we do something, only in case it
solves all problems, then we will never do
● (L)GPL, EUPL, MIT, BSD, Apache?
● permissive vs copyleft
● Using closed-sourced components
● Licence can be selected by the implementing company?
“That’s bullshit, it can’t happen!!”
“You aren’t helping...”
● Wide support for our NGO’s campaign - by citizens, companies, NGOs
● http://opendata.government.bg - the open data portal of Bulgaria. It’s a
project by obshtestvo.bg, based on CKAN, open-sources, and developed
together with two government institutions.
● we are constantly communicating with multiple agencies and ministries
● we are successfully pushing for standard government software
requirements that explicitly require open-source
If you are competent and adequate, even in the administration
there are people that can accept your opinion.
(изображение от http://exequiel09.github.io/symposium-presentation/)