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Linux seeks lebensraum in Voleland for Germany

by on05 April 2024

Digital sovereignty becomes a thing

Following a successful pilot project, the northern German federal state of Schleswig-Holstein has decided to ditch Volish software a.nd install Linux and LibreOffice (and other free and open-source software) on the whopping 30,000 PCs used in local government.

According to Ministerpräsident Daniel Günther, the state wants to be independent, sustainable, and secure.

“Schleswig-Holstein is set to be a digital pioneer region and the first German state to introduce a digitally sovereign IT workplace in its administration. With a cabinet decision to introduce the open-source software LibreOffice as the standard office solution across the board, the government has given the green light for the first step towards complete digital sovereignty in the state, with more steps to follow," he said.

Interestingly, the German state is using the term digital sovereignty. Suppose a public administration uses proprietary, closed software that can’t be studied or modified. In that case, it's nigh on impossible to know what happens to users’ data, but it is also a development from Europe’s successful GDPR laws.

"We do not influence the operating processes of such [proprietary] solutions and data handling, including a possible outflow of data to third countries. As a state, we have a great responsibility towards our citizens and companies to ensure that their data is kept safe with us. We must ensure that we are always in control of the IT solutions we use and that we can act independently as a state," he said.

This follows the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) 's finding that the European Commission’s use of Vole 365 breaches data protection law.

"Why should local governments invest taxpayers’ money in proprietary, closed software from a single vendor? With LibreOffice and free software, administrations gain a wealth of options for software and support providers. They can even finance local developers to enhance the software. Moreover, local governments can control the software completely, study its source code, make necessary changes, and deploy it on their own infrastructure. Discover more about the 'Public Money, Public Code' initiative," Günther said.

Last modified on 05 April 2024
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