German Government wants open standards and open source

November 18, 2009  |  B2G

The newly elected German Government plans to support open standards and open source software. In its four-year coalition contract, the government led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, writes it wants to orient its IT systems on open standards and include open source solutions.

Together with its sister party CSU and its liberal coalition partner (FDP), the government parties have constructed a 133 page coalition contract, which, in the chapter “Information and Media Society” declares intentions to expand eGovernment by increasing electronic communication options for both citizens and enterprises.

It says, “The German government’s technical communication requires concentration, standardisation, increased efficiency and a pooling of existing resources. Therefore we want to strengthen the government’s representative for Information Technology. We are examining how the government’s IT can in the future orient itself on open standards, taking open source solutions into account.”

The German online portal Linux Community asked the government’s IT representative what this statement would mean in practice. The speaker for the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Daniela-Alexandra Pietsch, explained it was too early to go into detail, but emphasised that, “only through the implementation of open standards and license-free standards will today’s and future highly complex IT systems be manageable”.

Pietsch expects that one of the main issues would be the development of a XML standard for data exchange inside and outside government bodies. She also called attention to XDOMEA, the first result of current efforts. XDOMEA is an XML format for the exchange of electronic documents, currently available in version 2.0. On the whole, the German government wants to set up a planning council to raise IT awareness. The council, Pietsch told Linux Community, will determine interoperability and security standards in the near future.


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