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Switzerland : Parliamentarians begin group on digital sustainability
Six members of the Swiss parliament (Nationalrat) last week formed a group called ‘Digital Sustainability’ which aims to increase the use of open source software by Swiss public bodies.
“After two years of lobbying for open source software in Swiss departmental and national politics, we have reached the next milestone”, Matthias Stürmer writes on his web site, where he announced the cross-party parliamentarian work group.
Stürmer is a board member of the Swiss Open Systems User Group (/ch/open), which will assist the group of MPs.
The six parliamentarians will begin by making the use of open source a political topic, Stürmer explains in an interview. The group will promote the concept of open source software and open standards in e-government projects and in IT procurement policy. In preparation is a request for the government to determine the economic benefits of this type of software for the country. “The six will also soon submit a resolution calling on the administration to favour the use of open standards and open source above proprietary applications.”
The group wants foremost to increase the use of open source by public bodies, he says. “But this will result in more jobs for local IT companies, will make more efficient use of the tax-payers money and it will increase innovation.”
“We need new ideas, innovative concepts and bold steps to get out of this one-way street of depending on IT vendors. Increasing our use of open source will help boost the Swiss software sect and improve its position in the international market.”
The Swiss administration had developed an open source strategy about eight years ago. This only exists on paper, says Stürmer. “In reality, the federal administration shied away whenever politicians pleaded for an increasing use of open source.”
“A study by the European Commission estimates that European companies are saving on average some 36 percent of their IT expenditure by using open source. Many EU countries, regions and cities have discovered the potential of free and open source software, and are using it strategically. It seems only in Switzerland there has been no progress.”
The six members of parliament are Walter Donzé (Evangelical Peoples Party, kanton Bern), Edith Graf-Litscher (Socialist Party, kanton Thurgau), Kathy Riklin (Christian Democrats, kanton Zürich), Alec von Graffenried (Green party, kanton Bern), Christian Wasserfallen (Free Democratic Party, kanton Bern) and Thomas Weibel (Green Liberal Party, kanton Zürich).
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