Free, Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS)

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1 Free, Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) - Use by Governments Presented by: Charles Schulz, Ars Aperta John Borras, Pensive SA Webinar December 2009

2 Part 1 Introduction to FLOSS Charles Schulz Agenda What is FLOSS? How is FLOSS Produced? Pros and Cons of FLOSS Open Source v Open Standards FLOSS Licences Next Steps in the progress of FLOSS

3 What is FLOSS? A philosophy Values about the digital world A better way to develop software A set of business models A distribution model The state of the art in software development All of the above and yet something else.

4 What is FLOSS? (cont.) Free/Libre and Open Source Software is software that comes with at least 4 freedoms: The freedom to run the program, for any purpose. The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish. Access to the source code is a precondition for this. The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements (and modified versions in general) to the public, so that the whole community benefits. Access to the source code is a precondition for this. There many FLOSS licenses, each adding or clarifying some points of these freedoms. GPL, LGPL, Apache, MIT, BSD... There is a perceived difference between Free/Libre licenses and strictly Open Source licenses.

5 What is FLOSS (cont.2) There are differences between Free Software and Open Source. Practitioners, pundits, journalists, insiders may experience a difference between Free Software and Open Source. As users, customers, governments, these differences are marginal. Differences exist in the way licenses create the conditions for business, and they exist in the goals of the people behind these projects. In any case: CHECK THE LICENSES, talk to your suppliers... do your homework.

6 How is FLOSS produced? Through software development projects These projects can be driven and populated by mere individuals, companies, universities, governments, NGOs, etc. These projects must develop software with a specific FLOSS license FLOSS is developed online, most of the time with distributed teams everywhere in the world.

7 Pros & Cons of FLOSS If you wanted to keep some secrecy in your code, that's just not possible. FLOSS goes against any established notion of management. FLOSS is everywhere, anytime and always available. You can innovate with it You gain some new potential suppliers, it's good for competition. You master your digital future.

8 Open Source vs. Open Standards 2 totally different things. You can have proprietary software using open standards. FLOSS can use open standards, open formats or protocols that are open, but... not standard. FLOSS uses proprietary standards, formats & protocols through reverse-engineering. Not good. FLOSS is the car, Open Standards are the gasoline.

9 Explanation of the different FLOSS licenses Free/Libre licenses vs.open Source licenses copyright/copyleft licenses Some history: BSD, GPL, Apache... What should you use? Different cases Different business models, different potential future for the software Who 's the copyright owner? Free & Open Source Software does not mean you have to forget about copyright! Is there a Joint Copyright Agreement? Dual licensing.

10 Next steps in the progress of FLOSS Challenges of the cloud computing: Openness of software platforms, absence of vendor lock-in do matter. Do not get caught into another proprietary trap again! Who owns the data? How do you enable users' freedom in your cloud? Software patents Data, data, data... Digital content

11 Agenda Part 2 Use by Governments John Borras The political debate around Open Source Cost benefit analysis Examples of FLOSS policies/initiatives in Government Examples of FLOSS usage by Governments Procurement issues How to get started Conclusions

12 The Political Debate around Open Source Is the debate simply about proprietary v open systems, or is it more than that - breaking the domination of a few large suppliers? There are very strong views at both ends of the spectrum, and not a lot of common ground. the OASIS view is there s room for both Within the open source community there are differences of opinion, eg on licensing. Many governments and institutions have taken early decisions on the use of open source, eg European Commission s i2010 Initiative and IDABC Programme (http://ec.europa.eu/idabc/en/document/2627/5644), whilst others, eg USA, are still considering their position.

13 Cost benefit analysis Always procure a solution that gives value for money. This may be a FLOSS solution, or a proprietary one, or a mixture of both. Decisions should be made on a case by case basis. Every effort should be made to reduce the cost and risk to government systems. Adopting this approach helps achieve that by: acquiring best value for money solutions removing the reliance on individual IT suppliers providing more flexibility in the development, enhancement and integration of systems vesting the ownership of bespoke and tailored software code with Government where this offers value for money. Security of government systems is vital. Properly configured OSS can be at least as secure as proprietary systems and OSS is currently subject to fewer Internet attacks. A balance needs to be struck between the availability of security administration skills and the advantages of many diverse systems. There is a need to ensure that interoperability of systems is provided and maintained. Many Governments have Interoperability Frameworks in place for the public sector and compliance with them is essential to the provision of e-services and joined-up Government.

14 Examples of FLOSS policies/initiatives in Government UK - Open Source, Open Standards and Re Use: Government Action Plan (http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/cio/transformational_government/open_s ource.aspx ) Australia - Guide to Open Source Software for Australian Government Agencies (http://www.finance.gov.au/publications/guide-to-open-sourcesoftware/index.html) New Zealand - Open Source (http://www.e.govt.nz/policy/open-source) and The Public Sector Remix Project (http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/sc0908/s00050.htm ) India - National Resource Centre For Free/Open Source Software (http://www.nrcfloss.org.in/) South Africa - Policy on free and open source software use for South African government (http://www.info.gov.za/view/downloadfileaction?id=94490) Canada Open Source Software Position (http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/fappaf/oss-ll/position-eng.asp) Croatia Open Source Software Policy (http://www.ehrvatska.hr/repozitorij/dokumenti/downloads/open_source_software_policy. pdf )

15 Examples of FLOSS usage by Governments Many Government websites use Apache as the core web server. Linux is used on many, many governmental servers, eg Nuclear defence in France and NASA. Linux desktops are increasingly being used. Use of OpenOffice is increasing. The use of Open Document Format (ISO/IEC 26300:2006) as well as emerging open versions of previously proprietary standards (eg ISO :2005 ( PDF ) and ISO/IEC ( Office Open XML formats ) is gaining momentum. Open Source components are used in major mission critical systems in UK such as Directgov and Electronic Vehicle Licensing.

16 Procurement issues Increasing capability within Government: raise the level of awareness, skills and confidence in the professions in the different licensing, support, commercial and cost models associated with open source solutions. Clarity in procurement: develop clear and open guidance for ensuring that open source and proprietary products are considered equally and systematically for the purpose of achieving value for money. Re-use as a practical principle: where open source solutions are evaluated and approved by one part of Government, that evaluation should not be repeated but should be shared. Maturity and sustainability: Open Source Software covers a multitude of products. Given the nature of Government work, a degree of confidence that a product is mature, that the code base is secure, that the project itself is sustainable is needed. Open Standards: specify requirements by reference to open standards and require compliance with open standards International examples and policies: keep up to date with developments; actively seek examples from other countries and sectors to encourage the development of product knowledge and better challenge to suppliers.

17 How to get started Write a policy or a guideline: building on research of other Government policies/initiatives. Communication, Consultation and Review: communicate this policy and its associated actions widely and expand it as necessary. Engage with the Open Source community in this debate. Increase the capability within Government: draw on best practice from other countries and institute a programme of education and capabilitybuilding for the Government IT and Procurement professionals. Use tried and tested solutions: start with the more common OSS solutions. Look for maturity of solutions and good reference sites. Publically funded R&D projects: aim to maximize returns on and benefits from public investment in publicly funded R&D software by producing OSS outputs.

18 Conclusions OSS can play an important part in the delivery of egovernment There are many mature OSS products capable of meeting egovernment requirements There is a lot of experience within Governments now about how to use OSS A lot more experience is needed in the procurement phase of projects to get the best value for money - be that OSS or proprietary The egov Member Section can help you keep up to date on developments.

19 Thank you for you attention Any Questions?

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