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From Uri to Bern: Free Software will revolutionise the world


More and more administrations are following the principle "Public Money? Public Code!" and are turning to Free Software. In Switzerland, the Free Software "Caluma" has been used very successfully for several years to manage the administration of construction applications.

The canton of Uri has just 36,500 inhabitants and is probably known to most for the Gotthard Pass. But in recent years, the canton has also become increasingly well known for its use of Free Software for administration. For years, the small canton has increasingly relied on Free Software and has been able to convince other cantons to switch to Free Software through its successful use. The Canton of Bern is one such canton.

Canton Uri und Bern crest
Crest canton Uri and Bern

Together with Paul Walker from the Canton of Uri, Bruno Mohr from the Canton of Bern and Christian Zosel from the vendor of the software, we talked about the tool and the importance of Free Software for a modern administration.

Video (only in german)

The four freedoms - to use the software for any purpose without any restrictions, to freely share it, to inspect the code making it transparent, and the possibility to adapt the software to one's own needs at any time and share these modifications - are of enormous importance for administrations.

"The freedom to develop where it is necessary - for that you absolutely need open software." Paul Walker

We have seen recently in the debate about the Corona Tracing Apps that transparency creates trust. Citizens can thus be sure that their personal data, for example, is being handled correctly. In addition, cooperation with other administrations can save costs and thus taxpayers' money in the medium to long term. The use of Free Software opens up completely new possibilities of cooperation for administrations. The principle of "develop once, use many times" is a departure from the constant purchase of licences for products that do not meet the needs of a modern administration but rather the business model of a vendor. This is particularly attractive for smaller administrations. The freedoms of Free Software also allow a great deal of digital sovereignty through independence from individual vendors.

This model is also worthwhile for companies: it is easier to find employees, so there are advantages on the labour market. And due to the pressure to always remain innovative in order not to be overtaken by competitors, the products also keep their finger on the pulse of time and the needs of users, which makes it possible to retain customers and find new ones.

It is therefore not surprising that the Canton of Uri was quickly able to convince other cantons to use Free Software. Bruno Mohr from the canton of Bern, for example, was quickly inspired: "Paul Walker got us really excited and that's when we knew: That's exactly what we want!" And Paul Walker's argument was as compelling as it was simple: "I'm convinced: Open Source will revolutionise the world and the sooner the cantons realise that this is the best way, the better it will be for these cantons."

The example of the cantons of Uri and Bern shows that the principle of "Public Money? Public Code!" benefits everyone: citizens, the administration but also the economy. We therefore demand that software developed with public money be published under a Free Software licence. If it is public money, it should be public code as well. You can support this call by joining our campaign, distributing our brochure and convincing your local administration to use Free Software.