The south-eastern European country Bulgaria has a new Open Source policy. The new amendment, passed in the parliament recently, requires all software written for the government to be open source.
Bozhidar Bozhanov, advisor to deputy prime minister of Bulgaria announced this on his blog. Bozhanov, who played a vital role in the new open source policy, thanked his colleague and deputy Prime Minister of Bulgaria for making these amendments to the Electronic Governance Act.
While you can find the entire amendment here, the main highlight of this law is article 58a:
Art. 58a. (New — SG. 50 of 2016, effective 01.07.2016) Upon preparation of technical and functional assignments for public procurement to develop, upgrade or implementation of information systems and e-services, administrative authorities must include the following requirements:
1. when the subject of the contract includes the development of computer programs:
a) computer programs must meet the criteria for open source software;
b) all copyright and related rights on the relevant computer programs, their source code, the design of interfaces and databases which are subject to the order should arise for the principal in full, without limitations in the use, modification and distribution;
c) development should be done in the repository maintained by the Agency in accordance with Art. 7c pt. 18;
While this doesn’t mean that the entire Bulgaria is going to ditch Microsoft and start using Linux and Open Source. Existing proprietary software will not be impacted by the new law. The main benefit, Bozhanov believes, is that
.. 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.
Soon, a new government agency will be formed to enforce the law and will set up the public repository for the software.
This is certainly a great news. I would like to congratulate Bozhanov and his team for their work on it and I wish that this becomes a successful role model for other countries to follow.