German Federal Government to Support Open Source Software
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[Berlin, GERMANY] "I am convinced that open source development can form the European base model in the information age." With these words, the German Secretary of State in the Federal Ministry for Economy and Technology, Siegmar Mosdorf, definitively voiced the backing of the German Government at the Linux Day 2000 of the open source movement.
According to Mosdorf, the German federal government sees its role in implementing a rethinking process in the civil service sector in the use of IT operating systems. Currently most data processing in the German civil service takes place using products from Microsoft.
The Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs intends to publish a guide in the fall that will be targeted at SMEs and the civil services and has the aim of clarifying the advantages and disadvantages of open source software and should serve such institutions as an introduction into the subject. A national open source competency center will also be set up to serve as a nodal point for the open source community and software users in Germany, by providing the necessary technical infrastructure, a discussion forum and marketplace.
According to Mosdorf, the German federal government expects an increase in security in data processing and data communication because of the open source movement. This is because if the source code of a program is clear and visible and can be checked by experts, then security is considerably increased. "Security through Obscurity" is the motto of yesterday. The slogan must today be "Security through Transparency". For this reason the Federal Ministry for Economy and Technology is supporting the development of an encryption product on an open source basis. This initiative is not about putting certain businesses under pressure. The competition in security matters will benefit the IT sector, says Mosdorf.