All signs on red-yellow-Green open source plans of the traffic light coalition
22.02.2022A guest comment by Rico Barth *
We are opening the next chapter: The Traffic Light Coalition has included the goal of open source funding in the coalition agreement. And once again, the hope is growing that things are moving forward in this area. It would be high time.
Rico Barth hopes that the open source goals of the traffic light coalition have not just remained a few sentences on paper in four years.
(Image: Cape IT)
It’s not that the open source community doesn’t have prominent supporters. For a long time, representatives from business and politics have been calling for the distribution of open source software to be promoted in Germany; and there have already been minor advances in the previous legislative periods.
Konstantin von Notz from the Greens, for example, has been advocating for the increased use of software with open source code for years. He also loudly criticized the development of the Corona app. Or Saskia Esken, party leader of the SPD, who has also been one of the advocates of open source for a long time.
So far, their and others’ voices have often faded into the wind, but now the new federal government has also officially set out to strengthen open technologies – albeit only vaguely. The coalition agreement directly states that open standards are stipulated for “public IT projects” and that “development orders are usually commissioned as open source”. A multi-cloud strategy, increased cloud use in administration and open interfaces are also among the goals of the traffic light government.
Even these few sentences raise the hope that there will really be a rethinking and a new approach to this topic. Of course, this was not the case with the constellation of this government. It is all the more gratifying that there has now been an agreement among such different parties, at least on paper. What of this will be implemented remains to be seen.
In any case, it would be a success not only at the federal level, but also in the European context. For example, the GAIA-X program, which is currently being implemented by Germany, France and other European partners. This joint project is intended to ensure a secure and high-performance data infrastructure in Europe so as not to be left behind from the rest of the world in economic and security matters. In addition to cloud use and unified data, the increased use of open source systems was defined as one of the cornerstones.
In our company, cape IT, as well as together with the Open Source Business Alliance, we have therefore been committed to the promotion of open systems for years. In addition to transparency and knowledge exchange, open source offers decisive advantages, especially when it comes to security issues.
This sounds paradoxical at first – if all users can view the source code, hackers also have the opportunity to do so. But many eyes can detect potential security vulnerabilities very quickly. And the experts can then close them faster than it would ever be possible with proprietary software. In other words, communities and teamwork ensure significantly more security.
In addition to the dissemination of open source, the government has also set itself other welcome goals. The share of the greens is particularly noticeable: in the technical area, sustainability is to be further promoted. Finally! Digital obsolescence should have been a thing of the past for a long time. The service life of technical devices is used far too rarely, and there is no good reason not to make full use of flawless technology. The supply bottlenecks of the last few months in particular have shown that things can be done differently.
“Dare to make more progress” is the title of the coalition agreement. Of course, the government has a lot of construction sites at the moment with Corona, Ukraine and other issues. The hope remains, however, that the open source goals have not just remained a few sentences on paper in four years. There are numerous experts in the IT industry who can provide advice on this – because we are also happy when progress really begins.
* Rico Barth is the Managing Director of cape IT and a board member of the Open Source Business Alliance.