Swiss government publishes Open-Source strategy

favorite opensource switzerland

Find it here in German, there's a link for French (but no English I'm afraid).

I didn't read everything in detail but here are some interesting parts.

Seven percent of my gov's servers run under Linux, and Linux is mentioned as a strategic option for servers. From what I know I guess it means "some" servers, but that's a start.

The Apache web server is also named as the strategic option for web servers. Another good start.

The paper also talks about reusing internal developments and possibly distributing them, but inside Switzerland, and within government agencies only. The restriction is apparently due to legal fears (liabililty mostly IIUC) if they start distributing their developments as Open Source.

There's also an explicit mention of no planned financial help for Open-Source projects.

So, on one hand they want to standardize on Linux and Apache httpd, good news. But how about giving back to the starved developers who invest their sweat in said projects? To me the strategy sounds a bit too much like freeloading at this point.

It's not uncommon though: many companies have this irrational fear of Open-Source related legal problems (hey, that's what clean licenses are for!), and it's a good opportunity for consultants or consulting companies to act as proxies, contributing to Open-Source projects along the way to successful solutions for their anonymous customers.

All this license and legal fears will most probably go away when everybody is clearer about what is what, but it will take some time and education.

There's also a paper on the current state of Open-Source in the swiss gov agencies. As can be expected, it's mostly about infrastructure software and much less about development tools. Cocoon, Avalon and Bugzilla are mentioned there, but only in the these tools were also mentioned section, and I think I know where it comes from ;-)

Via Urs.

Update: there are many Open-Source related news from Australia these days, here's another one which mentions the all-important fact that Open-Source creates much more local jobs than proprietary software bought from big foreign companies. This does not yet seem to be an issue over here unfortunately.