The one-sided dependence on software providers with proprietary business models impairs the digital sovereignty of the administration – this is the conclusion of a market analysis commissioned by the Federal Ministry of the Interior from PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers). The auditing firm therefore recommends the use of open source software (OSS). The OSB Alliance (Open Source Business Alliance e.V.) has therefore published a position paper on the use of open source in administration
Google, Amazon, Facebook: Counting on Open Source
In Germany, there is often a critical view of the success of Facebook, Google or Amazon, although this criticism is actually directed at the business model. What one should not leave out of sight: All these companies rely on Open Source for their business processes, there is no Microsoft Windows/Office monoculture and dependence. The success of German e-commerce companies such as Zalando, Xing or Immobilienscout24 is also closely linked to the use of open source software. Because open source forms the basis for practically everything these companies use in their data centers. More here: https://www.heise.de/ix/meldung/AWS-MAP-Open-Source-in-der-Cloud-statt-Windows-im-RZ-4699005.html
And there are good reasons for this: To remain innovative, these companies must be able to make adjustments to code and business models at any time. To protect the services they offer and the data they store from attack, they must also be able to fully control their software. And they must not make their business models dependent on the license costs of third parties, because this is the only way they can continue to offer attractive new services at very favorable conditions or even free of charge for users in the long term.
Innovative ability of business and government
Digital sovereignty has now entered the mainstream. The use of open source software is now also seen as an important instrument for freeing oneself from dependence on market-dominating software manufacturers and for being able to handle data in a self-determined and transparent manner. The recently published ruling of the European Court of Justice, according to which the Privacy Shield Agreement between the EU and the USA was declared null and void, once again clearly demonstrates that digital sovereignty must not be a pipe dream, but is necessary in order to be able to comply with and enforce the clear rules of the basic data protection regulation.
However, the strong dependence on a few large software providers endangers the digital sovereignty of the administration. This also emerges from the final report of a market analysis commissioned by the Federal Ministry of the Interior from PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers). The auditing firm therefore recommends the use of open source software (OSS).
Nevertheless, the public sector in particular sometimes finds it difficult to follow this recommendation. On the one hand, strong binding effects result from the sometimes decades-long ties to providers with their closed IT systems (closed source software), on the other hand, the various business models of the OSS industry, which often deviate from license purchase, are perceived as a burden or even misunderstood.
In order to recognize the advantages of open source software and to use them for one’s own IT, it is necessary to understand the other approaches of open source software and to integrate them in procurement and operation. The Open Source way does not only mean changes for procurement itself, but also for the implementation and operation of digital solutions in public administration.
The Open Source Business Alliance is the federal association for digital sovereignty. The OSB Allicance wants to help ensure that the potential of open source software is used to make the state and its institutions more digitally sovereign. In order to make it easier for public authorities and institutions to switch to open source software, the Open Source Business Alliance, as the Federal Association for Digital Sovereignty, has published a position paper entitled „Sustainable Open Source Use for Digital Sovereignty in Public Administration“.