German Federal Government to Support Open Source Software

[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

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.

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