The Federal Administration's ICT strategy requires that IT services are provided in an economically efficient way, that they are
of irreproachable quality, that there is forward planning and that interoperability is ensured. Open source software (OSS) has a contribution to make here, provided certain prerequisites are met. Appropriate deployment can extend the Federal Administration's room for manoeuvre.
Situation analysis OSS ICT
On 22 March 2017, in response to postulate 14.3532 from National Councillor Edith Graf-Litscher on «Stocktaking and outlook for open source in the Federal Administration», the Federal Council performed a situation analysis of the 2005 OSS strategy. The report in response to the postulate provided an overview on the current use of OSS in the Federal Administration, and looked forward at the further steps that are needed. The report showed that OSS is currently being used to an appropriate extent. The decision on whether to use open source software or licensed software in the Federal Administration is based on the observed total cost of an IT application over its entire life cycle.
In order to achieve the objective of equal treatment for OSS and licensed software, the general terms and conditions of the Federal Administration were adjusted accordingly and guidelines were drawn up for the procurement offices.
ICT sub-strategy on OSS replaced by strategic guidelines
Since the ICT sub-strategy on open source software was published in 2005, open source software has steadily proliferated. Today, according to the annual Swiss open source study, a clear majority of businesses and authorities use open source software in many different areas. In the software industry, too, there are hardly any companies not using open source tools and components.
On 22 March 2017, the Federal Council decided to renew the open source sub-strategy of 15 March 2005. During the work to redraft the sub-strategy, most departments (FITC, IPC, individual specialist offices) were of the opinion that the sub-strategy should be replaced by strategic guidelines. Against this background, the open source sub-strategy of 15 March 2005 was replaced by the strategic guidelines on open source software in the Federal Administration of 1 February 2019, supplemented by concrete recommendations for action in the accompanying practical guide.