City of Nijmegen in The Netherlands reinvigorates OSS policy, forcing interoperability
Nijmegen, the oldest and 10th largest city of the Netherlands, is reinvigorating its open source policy. Last month, the City Council unanimously adopted the resolution 'Nijmegen digitally independent'. The resolution basically requires the City to deploy both the mandatory and the recommended open standards listed by the Dutch Standardisation Forum for external as well as internal communications. At the same time, the City wants external suppliers to have sufficient experience with open source solutions, and to explicitly include open source alternatives in their consultancy recommendations.
"Rather than requiring the use of open-source software, we decided to primarily focus on 'not having to choose'," explains Joep Bos-Coenraad, City Counselor for GreenLeft and the proposer of the resolution. "Vendor lock-in by proprietary suppliers makes it hard to migrate to free and open source software solutions. For example, when a mail server supports only the proprietary Microsoft Exchange protocol, Linux users cannot use their open-source mail clients to connect. So in this case, the choice of operating system is influenced by the choice of mail server. Another example is when mobile devices can only connect to an application using a proprietary authentication tool that limits the choice of both software and hardware. So the most urgent task now should be to force the interoperability of software."
With its renewed policy, Nijmegen is in good company. The City of Amsterdam is one of the more vocal proponents of the use of free and open source software. It relies on open source software to build and deploy applications that combine geographic maps and other data, creating solutions for the City's maintenance crews, police, fire and rescue services, and easing interactions between citizens and the administration.
Photo credit: By Marc Ryckaert (MJJR) - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 nl, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28590379