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100 days of 'Public Money? Public Code!' in Munich

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100 days ago, the new Green-Red coalition in Munich adopted the principle of 'Public Money? Public Code!' to guide their procurement of software. Now, we take a look at the first activities undertaken for the use of Free Software.

100 days ago, the coalition agreement "Mit Mut, Visionen und Zuversicht: Ganz München im Blick (With courage, vision and confidence: All of Munich in view") was signed in Munich by the new government groups Grüne/Rosa Liste and SPD/Volt, as well as by Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter. This agreement contains a strong commitment to the use of Free Software; that in the future, the principle of 'Public Money? Public Code!' shall apply. Munich has thus agreed to the FSFE's demand; in turn, we are happy about this decision and have promised to follow and evaluate its implementation.

Together with LibreOffice Foundation "The Document Foundation", we asked the two groups what activities they have undertaken in the last 100 days to implement 'Public Money? Public Code!' in Munich.

Of course, significant changes cannot always be accomplished after a mere 100 days, especially considering the difficulties in current events. However, it is still easy to see if the new government is serious about its commitment, or if these are just empty words, by their actions so far.

Aerial view of the town hall in Munich.
Town hall in Munich.

The Green-Red government has set some high goals in its coalition agreement, not only by committing to "Public Money? Public Code!", but also through innovative models, such as the introduction of a Free Software sabbatical ("open source sabbatical") for city employees to promote the development of Free Software.

At the moment, the coalition partners are in close talks about a package of proposals that will be discussed in autumn. Part of the application package proposes that all software that does not contain personal data and is developed by the administration shall be transferred to a public code base. The introduction of the Free Software sabbatical is also part of the first proposal package.

In the short term, the coalition will also have to deal with the issue of data protection. Tools such as Cisco Webex are to be replaced by a privacy-friendly Free Software solution. Products from Microsoft's Office family are also being put to the test. In addition, the employees of the city's public administration will be free to use Free Software products in the future. However, a return to the prestigious LiMux project is currently not being sought; instead, a free operating system should be introduced which will also be used in other public contexts. In doing so, cooperation with other administrations will also be taken into account.

In addition, the new coalition wants to deal with the public procurement system and examine the extent to which reforms are necessary. Municipal enterprises are also to be put to the test. However, in this context, the administration, in particular the IT department, will also be called upon. Cooperation with the department could still prove difficult, however, as the plans are not met with much enthusiasm at this point in particular.

The new coalition will continue the 'Public Money? Public Code!' project, even though it remains to be seen how the proposals will be formulated and ultimately implemented. We will continue to closely monitor the process and push for an end to the dependency on individual vendors and pave the way for sustainable digital sovereignty, which benefits not only the city, but also its citizens.

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