On the face of it, it is a brave move, not because of the technology involved, but because it cuts politicians from a lucrative source of income – bribes from software companies.
Under the amendments to the Electronic Governance Act, all software written for the government will have to be open-source and to be developed as such in a public repository.
Sadly, this does not mean that the whole country is moving to Linux and LibreOffice, neither does it mean the government will force Microsoft and Oracle to give the source code to their products. Existing contracts will still stand. What it means that whatever custom software the government procures will be visible and accessible to everyone.
A new government agency will enforce the law and will set up the public repository. Bozhidar Bozhanov who helped get law accepted said that the battle is not over.
“The fact that something is in the law doesn’t mean it’s a fact, though. The programming community should insist on it being enforced. At the same time some companies will surely try to circumvent it,” he wrote.
However he said that it was a good step for better government software and less abandonware.