Government adoption is an important step for the advancement of free software. When governments make the switch from proprietary technology, larger-scale change may follow: workers who use free technologies bring them home from the office, and students bring file formats, specialized software, and services like online homework submission systems home from school. Government offices also purchase software on massive scales, and their money can have large-scale impact on technology.
In 2003, the city council of Munich voted to plan a migration from a Microsoft-based system to a GNU/Linux one. By 2013, more than 15,000 machines were running on a customized GNU/Linux distribution. This success was short lived, however, as in late 2017 the city council voted to return to Windows and proprietary systems.
Molly de Blanc discusses the timeline of Munich’s tech procurement, where it succeeded, and what went wrong. Molly then covers other municipal procurement policies, the benefits of adopting free and open source technology at a government level, and how you can help.
Molly de Blanc is campaigns manager at the Free Software Foundation. A free software activist from Somerville, MA, Molly serves on the board of directors at the Open Source Initiative. She enjoys biking, coffee, and playing bassoon.
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