Open-source software is transparent and provides insight to serve the public interest. It offers cities independence, flexibility, and financial savings. Vendors can be slow to upgrade and inflexible, whereas cities that know their own code can adapt it to changing needs. And, fundamentally, by opening up software development to new networks and increasing the number of people testing and working on the code, cities can co-develop solutions that wouldn’t be possible individually. For both cities sharing their open-source code and cities replicating existing open source solutions, the result is more innovative public services that meet a broader range of needs.
While Zoom and Microsoft Teams might have grabbed many of the headlines for keeping us connected during lockdown, open source tools have also been making significant progress.
For example, technology developed by UK software company Element is to be rolled out by the German education system to provide collaboration tools for half a million seats in the states of Schlesweig-Holstein and Hamburg.