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Opensource government

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The progress of and the rationale behind Bulgarian Open Source policies.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit

Opensource government

  1. 1. Open source - accelerating e-government: the Bulgarian electronic governance act Bozhidar Bozhanov Adviser to the political cabinet of the deputy prime minister for coalition policy and public administration and minister of interior
  2. 2. ● Senior software engineer and architect ● http://techblog.bozho.net ● Adviser to the deputy primer minister of Bulgaria about e- government, open data & technology ● Realistic idealist About me
  3. 3. “You can’t make the ladies behind the desks use LibreOffice and Linux!! Open Source for the Government??
  4. 4. You can, but that’s a different story... It’s not about Linux...
  5. 5. ● The government is constantly procuring both specific and generic software ● 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. Custom software
  6. 6. ● Vendor lock-in ● Abandonware ● Low-quality software ● Bugs and security holes o egov.bg 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 ● Questionable, opaque spending Status quo
  7. 7. ● Websites of ministries/agencies/municipalities/programmes ● Registries ● General clerk software ● Specific information systems ● Accountancy software ● egov - middleware, registries, portal, e-services Types of government software
  8. 8. ● what’s the relation between “government software” and “electronic governance”? ● The problems of electronic governance o Lacl of coordination o Lack of quality o Lack of vision Electronic governance
  9. 9. (almost) all new projects must be open-sourced A solution?
  10. 10. We proposed article 58a, which mandates: • All new custom-built software to be open source • Developed in a public repository from day 1 The electronic governance act
  11. 11. ● Reusability ● Higher quality ● Easier extension and support o from a government “system integrator” o from other companies o from NGOs and even citizens ● Transparency o What did the government spend the money on o “but...nobody will be watching those projects!” - there are people that will be watching them, don’t worry :) Why?
  12. 12. ● UK- http://github.com/alphagov (330 projects) ● US - http://www.govcode.org/ (2000 projects); Federal source code policy ● 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 ● Switzerland ● The European Commission ● European Parliament called for “the systematic replacement of proprietary software by auditable and verifiable open-source software in all the EU institutions, and for the introduction of a mandatory open-source-selection criterion in all future ICT procurement procedures” Experience around the world
  13. 13. ● Every company, implementing software ordered by the government uses a public repo o must use it actively (and not just synchronize an internal repo with it) o git or mercurial ● Public documentation ● Stable master ● The licence used must be approved by FSF or OSI o EUPL by default. Allowed: GPLv3, AGPL, Apache, MIT, etc. Procedure
  14. 14. ● 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 technical specification. o and we prepared a template for that ● total cost of ownership is the same in the worst case ● new business models Why would that work?
  15. 15. “Are you listening to yourself, the government can’t open their systems?!”
  16. 16. ● 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. o The law doesn’t apply to systems regarding national security and classified information ● 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 … :) Security
  17. 17. ● not applicable to existing closed-sourced software ● good code != good software ● not every project can be monitored carefully by society ● won’t solve the problems of e-governance, coordination, corruption ● can see opposition in the face of malicious companies No silver bullet...
  18. 18. ● Proprietary components? o Allowed ● Entire proprietary systems or proprietary base? o Allowed, but must prove TCO will be lower ● Does it mean the database can’t be Oracle / MS SQL Server? o No. ● Will we switch to Linux and LibreOffice o No – a lot of migration required – desktop software, ActiveDirectory, trainings o But we will switch to ODF Typical questions
  19. 19. ● The amendments to to the electronic governance acts passed and are in force! ● We have set up an agency to oversee the process ● We have prepared templates and answers to regular questions ● http://github.com/governmentbg o Soon – an on-premise system, mirrored to GitHub ● EU programs explicitly require open source So far...
  20. 20. ● Administration not knowing they should do it o We already have tenders that do not conform with the law o We have prepared templates and answers to regular questions ● No responsible body for enforcement o We have set up an agency to oversee the process, not yet operational ● Companies may develop “privately” and push at the end o http://github.com/governmentbg , soon – an on-premise system, mirrored to GitHub ● It can be ignored o “No open source – no funding” works (EU programs explicitly require open source) Potential issues
  21. 21. ● Put it in the law ● Be explicit that it applies to all projects (websites, registers, information systems) o “It does not apply to us” phenomenon ● Find or create a responsible body ● Also put it as a prerequisite for funding ● Talk ● Answer questions Advice
  22. 22. ● Too early to say ● Depends on willingness to enforce ● I will share our experience within a year Will it work?
  23. 23. Open and transparent projects should bring better quality and lower TCO
  24. 24. (image taken from http://exequiel09.github.io/symposium-presentation/) Questions?

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