3.6. Releasing existing software under open licence¶
Article 69(1) reads as follows:
‘Public administrations that are owners of solutions and computer programs made to the specifications of the public client, have the obligation to make the relevant source code available, complete with documentation and released in a public repository under an open licence, for use free of charge for other public administrations or for legal entities wishing to adapt them to their own requirements, except when there are ‘justified reasons of public order and safety, national defence and electoral consultations’.
The obligations mentioned here refer to the entire software range on which the rights of an administration are emphasised, with the consequence that, regardless of the requirement to comply with these obligations when concluding new contracts, each administration is required to implement them promptly, including with reference to the existing software where they own the relevant intellectual and industrial property rights (as indicated in 1.5Ownership).
Implementing these obligations on existing software is an essential aspect of maximising the effectiveness of the provision in question and, more generally, of the good practice of reuse, since it allows other administrations to benefit without delay from the opportunities offered by reuse, avoiding the risk that they will have to reacquire solutions already belonging to the public information estate and that, therefore, could be used without generating any additional cost for the community.
Therefore the administration must create an inventory of the software that is already in its possession in order to verify its ownership, and if so proceed to release under open licence.
Given the rapid obsolescence of digital technologies and the importance of encouraging the reuse of available solutions, software that has not been in use by the administration for more than 5 years is deemed to be excluded from the release obligation, with reference to the date of publication of these guidelines.
Detailed specifications on how to implement the release are contained in Annex A: Guide to publishingsoftware as open source. If the administration does not have the necessary resources to align the document with the standards set out in the guide, the administration must in any case immediately proceed with the release of what it possesses in its current state, it being understood that the presence of documentation is an essential requirement set out in regulations and it will therefore be necessary to proceed with the completion and alignment of the documentation as soon as possible in order to consider the obligation completed.