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Germany: 100 days of coalition agreement - hardly one day for Free Software


At the end of the week, the new German government will have been in office for 100 days. The coalition agreement contains ambitious statements on the use of Free Software (also known as Open Source), but so far nothing has been implemented. On the contrary: dependencies are to be further cemented.

Just 100 days ago, the new government set out to finally drive forward the digitisation of Germany. Fortunately the use of Free Software is to play a major role. The FSFE has been demanding for a long time: "Public Money? Public Code!" - an implementation of the principle finally seems tangible.

The picture shows a house built from code
digital sovereignty

Free Software gives everyone the right to use, study, share, and improve applications for any purpose. These freedoms mean that similar applications do not have to be programmed from scratch every time, and thanks to transparent processes, others do not have to reinvent the wheel. For large projects expertise and costs can be shared, and applications paid for by the public are available to all. This promotes innovation and saves money in the medium to long term. Dependencies on vendors is minimised and security issues can be fixed more easily.

Alexander Sander, the FSFE's Policy Consultant, explains: "Although the benefits of Free Software are obvious and are also recognised in the coalition treaty, the new government has so far only been conspicuous by inactivity and cementing the status quo. Instead of finally providing a 'Free Software cloud' for administrations, the new government will again rely on costly proprietary applications. This is incomprehensible to us."

SAP and Arvato, for example, want to offer Microsoft products to German administrations and the new government is open to this. The cloud strategy based on "open interfaces as well as strict security and transparency requirements", which was still mentioned in the coalition treaty, is thus moving further and further away.

Apart from a vague announcement by Franziska Brantner, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection, "to promote open source technologies from 2022 onwards" nothing happened so far. It remains unclear what budget is available for this activity, how these technologies will be identified and promoted, and how stakeholders will be integrated into the process, especially civil society.

The Minister of the Interior, Nancy Faeser, who is supposed to push the topic of digitisation for administrations, has so far remained reserved, as has the chancellor. Although "much more speed" is to be made, how this is to happen in concrete terms remains nebulous and Free Software has not played a role so far.

"The government, which has made an ambitious start, is called upon to keep its own objectives in mind and finally move forward with the digitisation of Germany, based on Free Software." Alexander Sander demands.