Draft for Free sotware for the Strasbourg Conference

Here’s the final draft, revised after yesterday’s Jitsi meeting:

Free software and open data

Pirates support the promotion of software that can be used, analyzed, disseminated and modified by anyone. Free/Libre Open Source Software is essential for users’ control of their own technical systems and provides a significant contribution to strengthening the autonomy and privacy of all users.

Free Software, Formats, and Protocols in Public Administration

Citizens’ data must be processed, managed and secured with Free Software tools wherever possible. Proprietary software may only be used as long as Free Software cannot effectively be used for that specific purpose, and the option of creating such a piece of software is not viable.

Free Software reduces administrative costs, promotes local technical support and significantly strengthens security - for example, by allowing anyone to easily check for malicious, vulnerable or backdoored code embedded within software. We will drive the migration of the public sector to Free Software so that there is no longer a dependency on specific suppliers.

Citizens and businesses must never be forced to use proprietary software when dealing with public administration or any other communication with their government. It must never be based on proprietary forms of communication designed to only work with specific, usually non-free software. Instead, it must use open, interoperable, vendor-neutral protocols and formats.

Free software funding and development

Free software, a lot of which powers critical infrastructure, is often maintained by a few volunteers in their spare time. We want to provide funding to innovative open source projects, as well as contribute to existing free software development. This can, for example, include direct funding and organized hackathons.

We also plan to encourage member states’ governments to set up their own Open Source Program Offices (OSPOs). This will greatly enhance the ability to create and collaborate on free software that can be (re)used across the Union.

Finally, free and open source software development must never be held to the same obligations that proprietary software development is, and its developers cannot be held liable for damage linked to the free usage of their work.

Government-provided Software

Government-provided software, such as mobile ID cards, must be made functional on free and open source operating systems, including those not installed by default or officially supported by device vendors, wherever it is technically feasible. No artificial restrictions should be placed on this functionality. Furthermore, versions of the software should be made available for all major mobile platforms.

Software developed using public funds must be open source - “public money, public code.” However, if there is a valid reason for not disclosing the source code at a given time - such as a potential threat to national security - the code must be made public as soon as the reason no longer applies. We also suggest that the source code for such software be hosted by the corresponding country’s OSPO using Git or other similar software repositories.

To ensure broadest possible use and accessibility, we also recommend that governments license their software with a copyleft license. The software should also be compatible with all major operating systems on the platform it was designed for. Additionally, web-based programs should be designed to be portable and compatible with all major free and open source browsers, preferably respecting web standards as defined by the W3C.

Open data

[To be merged with the open data chapter.]

And I will be attending the conference in person. :slight_smile:


Looks good to me. Enjoy the conference.

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I see that some CRA related section has been added :slight_smile: Good good. Although it may be better to avoid the differentiation along the commercial/non-commercial line, as the term “commercial activity” from CRA propsal is one that FOSS communities have the biggest problem with when it comes to determining if some FOSS falls under the CRA regulation obligations and if we look at something like §2.2 of Blue Guide, it looks like almost all FOSS does. Some more links on these CRA critiques:

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Good point. I’ve finished the program for the most part now, all I’m waiting on is Open Data. :slight_smile:

I ended up switching commercial to proprietary - I think that gets the point across better. I’m not sure it’s the best possible word to use there, but I couldn’t think of anything better… feel free to suggest something if you’d like.

Let’s leave a few days for discussion now. I don’t think there are any specific deadlines at this point, but I would quite like to mark this as finished.

Yeah I think proprietary vs. FOSS is a good enough and simple distinction, even the ideal one in my opinion, and I guess in such a program it is good to have some slightly utopian and inspiring ideal as a goal :slight_smile:

If we wanted to complicate a lot and not be so idealistic I guess I would say something like this instead of “proprietary software development” → “software deployment for some gain (financial or otherwise) by a big gatekeeper”. By this “deployment” would make a distinction between developing/publishing software and actual putting of software to use by some final target user, “some gain” would further make a distinction between deploying software out of good will expecting nothing in return vs. for some gain (e.g. monetary profit or harvesting user data (bad for privacy) or something else), and further using “big gatekeeper” would distinguish between small/medium/non-profit businesses vs, some big gatekeeper/monopolistic corporations (in a sense that this distinction is made in Digital Services Act). But yeah I guess that would be complicating a text too much and make it not that much inspiring.