Bulgaria Moves To Open Source; Will Other Govts Follow Suit?
Bulgaria has recently passed amendments to its Electronic Governance Act which require all software written for the government to be open source and developed in a public repository. This can be considered sensible move by the country’s court and can serve as an example to other countries around the world who could also follow this practice for the purpose of making software available to citizens.
Bozhidar Bozhanov, advisor to the Bulgarian deputy prime minister, noted in a blog post that this means, “Whatever custom software the government procures will be visible and accessible to everyone. After all, it’s paid by tax-payers money and they should both be able to see it and benefit from it.”
To beging with, going open source would certainly mean an increased security. Software experts can look for bugs and vulnerabilities in open source software and report it to governments – or even submit patches of their own – before they are taken advantage of, believe experts, and hence governments across the world can move to open source software.
At the same time, open source software can also be modified according to suit various needs. These may include updated processes or new departments that require similar tools with additional features, and more can be incurred at moderate costs.
Also, governments that choose open source tools needn’t stay locked to a single software vendor. Because the software they use is publicly available, they can switch vendors at any time for better service or lower costs for maintenance and support.
It is clear to governments around the world that leveraging open-source software can promote innovation and collaboration across government agencies. Increased co-operation and innovation is happening within and between countries too. There is wide support in the private sector for open-source software, and the internet is built on it, but it is now catching on in the government sector as well.
France, Norway, Brazil and the US use open source tools to various degrees; hopefully other countries will take a leaf out of Bulgaria’s book in the coming years.
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