Bulgarian Government will require in future open source for software they pay for development


via Bozhidar Bozhanov blog

Something positive is happening in Bulgaria! E-Government act was amended on July 1st, you can see full text here.

Art.58a. (New — SG. 50 of 2016, effective 01.07.2016) Upon preparation of technical and functional assignments for public procurement to develop, upgrade or implementation of information systems and e-services, administrative authorities must include the following requirements:

1. when the subject of the contract includes the development of computer programs:

a) computer programs must meet the criteria for open source software;

b) all copyright and related rights on the relevant computer programs, their source code, the design of interfaces and databases which are subject to the order should arise for the principal in full, without limitations in the use, modification and distribution;

c) development should be done in the repository maintained by the Agency in accordance with Art. 7c pt. 18;

What does this mean? For people who know how Bulgarian administration worked so far it hopefully clean the mess which is now.

Every administration was doing their own closed source IS non-maintainable and non compatible with other administrations. Tax administration has his own, customs has their own, etc etc not connected with each other.

Wanna silly examples?

#1 Border police and customs IS were made separately so people who cross the borders went to one desk give their passports, someone there scan them then give them USB Flash drive(!!!) which they carry with themon the next desk where another IS read the files 😀

#2 Electronic customs where you can fill the import and export declarations. When I first hear about this I said – good news we catch on Estonia where everything is online! Then I faced the sad reality with the  implementation. I went to customs web page and I couldn’t enter it … as my browser was not Internet Explorer with obsolete version which was not used for several years, but obviously the IS developers decided that they do not need to test their IS with other browsers so you have to install this version or not using the “electronic” customs. I found Windows computer and installed the obsolete IE browser with massive list of security holes, then made my first export declaration online and happy decided to send it for processing … I was too optimistic, to do this I had to have Acrobat reader 6 as the electronic customs IS couldn’t accept other version signed document !!!

At this point I gave up and send my docs to customs agency who took care for the export as I had no whole day to loose. This was several years ago when the system was introduced, it may be improved now but I’m not in mood to waste more time to check.

Bulgarian government has spent millions on non-senses like this, some IS were made several times by different companies, every time starting from scratch as the code was closed. Sites with broken security were not patched for months as the contract has expired and sources were closed, so it’s good to see that they finally look in the right direction!

You can read the original article here


First Open Source Projects from Bulgarian government


The Bulgarian Government open source the code of some projects paid by the state for very first time.
The open source code is on https://github.com/governmentbg/
This happens with the support of общество.бг (society.bg).
Why open source is so important for the government projects? Because people will have access to the final code government spends tax money for and all technical knowledge people could have look what exactly is done. Many people could see the source and give feedback improving the security and functionality of the code.