Document Actions

Behind Bern's Open Source Policy

ComputerWorldUK - Simon Phipps - It's taken a strong political decision to overcome the lock-in inertia of ICT procurement in Bern. Will the policy succeed?

The city council of Bern, Switzerland's federal capital, decided this month to tell its ICT department that it should use open source wherever possible. This comes at a time when two German cities - Munich and Freiburg - have announced very different outcomes from similar decisions. To understand more about this decision I spoke with Matthias Stuermer, an elected member of the city council who has played a key role in the decision.  
Stuermer is an expert when it comes to enterprise open source. Advising clients on the subject is part of his day job at Ernst and Young. He was elected to Bern's city council in 2008 as a deputy (able to stand in for absences of full members), joined as a full member in 2011 when a vacancy arose and has recently be re-elected as a full member. He has been advocating a move to an open source strategy for the city since being first elected. 
The council has been moving towards favouring open source for some time, but the desire was not matched by the city's ICT department. They continued to prefer proprietary systems, finding it easier to live with the lock-in than to challenge it. The matter came to a head in 2011 when the city set out to procure new enterprise agreements from Microsoft.