Bulgaria yesterday passed an amendment requiring all custom software written for the government to be open source.
“Less than two years after my presentation titled ‘Open source for the government,‘ and almost exactly one year after I became advisor to the deputy prime minister of Bulgaria, with the efforts of my colleagues and the deputy prime minister, the amendments to the Electronic Governance Act were voted in parliament and are now in effect,” Bozhidar Bozhanov, the advisor to the deputing prime minister of Bulgaria said.
According to Bozhanov, moving forward all custom software built for the government must be open source and developed in a public repository, which will be visible to everyone. This will not only make it easier to monitor site development but will also bring transparency to public spending.
Existing solutions on licensing terms will be unaffected by the amendments, however, Bozhanov strongly encourages they move to open source solutions as well.
“I think this is a good step for better government software and less abandonware and I hope other countries follow our somewhat ‘radical’ approach of putting it in the law,” Bozhidar said.
It’s their hope that the move to open source will also reduce security vulnerabilities.
“In the past ‘security through obscurity’ was the main approach, and it didn’t quite work —numerous vulnerabilities were found in government websites that went unpatched for years, simply because a contract had expired,” Bozhanov said.
In open-source development, vulnerabilities and bad security practices are easier to detect and address in the development process.
This is a huge win for open source and another step forward toward a more open web.