Policy on Free and Open-source Software. Government Policy of Iceland

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1 Plicy n Free and Open-surce Sftware Gvernment Plicy f Iceland Prime Minister s Office December 2007

2 Intrductin Free and pen-surce sftware is sftware based n a surce cde which the authrs chse t make public and accessible t everyne. Nt nly is it permissible t use and distribute such sftware as desired, but als t adapt and imprve it. Prprietary sftware, n the ther hand, is subject t restrictins n use, distributin and mdificatin, besides its building n a surce cde that has nt been made public. Giving access t the surce cde expands the pprtunities fr adapting and examining security aspects f the sftware, in additin t allwing fr its further develpment if the prducers discntinue it fr sme reasn. Free and pen-surce sftware usually fllws pen standards, and it is imprtant that gvernmental authrities supprt and encurage their increased applicatin. Nt being cntingent n any particular hardware r suppliers, nr being cntrlled by any single party, pen standards are accessible t everyne. They can, fr instance, facilitate the interactin f different sftware systems and cntribute t a greater lifespan fr electrnic data. Free and pen-surce sftware is expanding rapidly all ver the wrld, having already earned recgnitin as a realistic ptin when selecting infrmatin technlgy slutins. Such sftware has brught cmpetitin t a market previusly dminated by a relatively small number f suppliers. Rather than hindering this trend, it is imprtant fr gvernmental authrities t supprt it and allw fr its cntinued develpment, since the use f free and pen-surce sftware can reduce the ties f businesses, the authrities and the public t individual suppliers r service prviders, thereby cultivating greater chice. There are numerus factrs, particularly the expense f prprietary sftware, which call fr nting the pssibilities invlved in using free and pen-surce sftware. These pssibilities add weight t recmmendatins stemming frm cperative prjects and internatinal rganisatins, such as the Eurpean Unin and Nrdic Cuncil, that free cmpetitin be prmted in these matters. Public bdies are at the same time encuraged t utilise the pwer f their size t push fr the use f free and pen-surce sftware. In fact, mst f Iceland's neighburing cuntries have already frmed plicies n such sftware. Icelandic gvernment plicy n the use f free and pen-surce sftware by state bdies is based n the cmpliance f sftware prcurement with rules appearing in the Public Prcurement Act, N. 94/2001; the Act n Tender Prcedures, N. 65/1993; and ther laws in effect n gvernment prcurement, in additin t the current Gvernment Prcurement Plicy. Since the Plicy n Free and Open-surce Sftware is intended t fllw all f the abve guidelines, it must be reviewed whenever the abve Acts r Plicy are amended. The present Plicy als applies t all state institutins and rganisatins that are perated with public funds. A 2005 reprt n pen-surce sftware, 1 the plicies f ther natins, and varius materials frm the Eurpean Unin helped serve as a basis fr preparing this Plicy. 1 Opinn hugbúnaður (Open-surce Sftware) was a reprt cmpiled by ParX, the IBM Business Cnsulting Service, fr a task grup which the Prime Minister's Office spnsred n e-gvernment, cf. the website 2

3 Icelandic gvernment plicy regarding free and pen-surce sftware 1. When purchasing new sftware, free and pen-surce sftware and prprietary sftware are t be cnsidered n an equal fting, with the bject f always selecting the mst favurable purchase. 2. Every endeavur shall be made t chse sftware based n pen standards, regardless f whether the sftware in questin is standard r bespke (custm-designed). Generally, sftware which is free fr anyne t use is als typified by pen standards. 3. Public bdies shall endeavur t avid any undue dependence n particular sftware manufacturers r service prviders. The utilisatin f free and pen-surce sftware is ne means f this. 4. One gal fr bespke (custm-designed) sftware financed by public bdies, including sftware fr research and develpment prjects, shuld be its reusability. Keeping the sftware free and pen-surce is ne way t achieve reusability. Strategies shall be devised at the utset f such prjects fr ensuring reuse f the sftware. 5. Students in Icelandic educatinal institutins shall be given the pprtunity f learning abut and using free and pen-surce sftware n a par with prprietary sftware. 3

4 Explanatry cmments n this Plicy 1. When purchasing new sftware, free and pen-surce sftware and prprietary sftware are t be cnsidered n an equal fting, with the bject f always selecting the mst favurable purchase. It is imperative that public bdies evaluate free and pen-surce sftware n the basis f the same standards and qualities as apply when selecting ther sftware and supplies. Amng ther things, this invlves basing the chice f sftware n the ttal cst f wnership in relatin t benefits. It is als imprtant fr administratrs and ther individuals respnsible fr purchasing t realise that in the case f free and pen-surce sftware they may themselves have t take the initiative in btaining adequate infrmatin. 2. Every endeavur shall be made t chse sftware based n pen standards, regardless f whether the sftware in questin is standard r bespke (custmdesigned). Generally, sftware which is free fr anyne t use is als typified by pen standards. The ever-increasing demand fr nline gvernment services, fr bth Iceland's legal entities and the general public, raises requirements fr system cmpatibility and data transferability. Thus it is imprtant t apply pen standards, increase cllabratin amng public bdies and cnsider a lng-term plicy fr data cmmunicatin. The use f pen standards increases the cmpatibility ptential f a sftware system, thereby cntributing t a lnger lifespan fr the sftware. 3. Public bdies shall endeavur t avid any undue dependence n particular sftware manufacturers r service prviders. The utilisatin f free and pen-surce sftware is ne means f this. It is imprtant fr public bdies t minimise vendr lck-in. Lck-in implies a custmer becming dependent n a certain vendr fr prducts and services and being unable t switch t any ther vendr withut underging substantial incnvenience and pprtunity csts. These circumstances render it wrthwhile t assess the ptential impact f a prvider ceasing t develp the sftware, f a service prvider discntinuing prduct supprt, r f the business relatinships with such prviders terminating fr sme ther reasn. Free and pensurce sftware adds t the ptins and encurages cmpetitin. 4. One gal fr bespke (custm-designed) sftware financed by public bdies, including sftware fr research and develpment prjects, shuld be its reusability. Ensuring that sftware is free and pen-surce is ne way t achieve reusability. Strategies shall be devised at the utset f such prjects that will allw fr reuse f the sftware. There is a great need t increase the return n public bdy investments in sftware design. Once sftware has been prepared, it is imprtant that it has the ptential f being reused, whether by the institutin invlved r a third party. Reusability can be achieved by marketing the sftware r ensuring that it is free and pen-surce. Reuse f the sftware may pssibly be subjected t cpyright prvisins, thugh this des nt imply that public bdies shuld themselves reserve any sftware cpyright. 5. Students in Icelandic educatinal institutins shall be given the pprtunity f learning abut and using free and pen-surce sftware n a par with prprietary sftware. By familiarising students with free and pen-surce sftware and by prviding pprtunities t wrk with it as well as with prprietary sftware, educatinal institutins can play a valuable rle in increasing the prprtin f free and pen-surce sftware that is available. Furthermre, free and pen-surce sftware prvides teaching pprtunities that d nt exist with prprietary sftware, since the backgrund functins f free and pen-surce sftware, including its characteristics and prgramming, can be revealed t students. In these respects, free and pen-surce sftware is better suited t arusing interest in cmputer prgramming and infrmatin technlgy than prprietary sftware, where its use is all that can be taught. 4

5 Future steps The plicy abve cannt be implemented withut a systematic fllw-up by gvernment bdies. Prpsals fr the mst imprtant fllw-up measures are described belw. Plicy item Descriptin Respnsibility General aspects The gvernment shuld prvide a platfrm fr cmmunicating infrmatin n free and pen-surce sftware and related tpics. Bth free and pensurce sftware cmmunities and prfessinals in this field shall be apprached fr cllabratin, in Iceland as well as verseas. Purchases The gvernment shall endeavur t remve barriers in purchasing prcedures which favur the buying f prprietary sftware n the market. Standards The gvernment shall issue directives n using standards and n intercmmunicatin amng state gvernment systems, ensuring that cnsideratin is paid t its Plicy n Free and Open-surce Sftware. Self-sufficiency The gvernment shall maintain a summary f prjects in which public bdies have adpted r are adpting free and pen-surce sftware, s that prject experience can be utilised during subsequent prjects rather than being lst. Reusability Institutins shall be encuraged t make prvisins fr reusing any sftware that is being designed. Educatinal institutins Grant applicatins shall call fr a plan twards the reuse f any sftware that is created. Reusability shall als be ne f the subjects t address in negtiatins with vendrs. The ptin f free and pen-surce sftware shall be intrduced t students as fully as the ptin f prprietary sftware. Advantage must be taken f the teaching ptins inherent in free and pen-surce sftware. PMO, MESC MFin PMO PMO MFin, MESC MESC 5

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