Open Government, Open Budget, Open Politics, Open Everything
Saturday May 19th 2012, 16:38h
Filed under: Digital Sustainability, FLOSS, Open Government Data, Politics

I know, for many people it sounds too much “open”: Open Source, Open Standards, Open Cloud, Open Government, Open Budget, Open Politics, Open Everything… While I admit there is some hype and buzzwording all around “open everything”, there is a clear trend towards more transparency, collaboration, participation, and innovation within our society. However, I don’t want to start a philosophical discussion. Let me just briefly list the initiatives I’m currently involved in:

In January 2012 I participated in the workshop “European Public Administrations and Open Source Sofware: The Power of Communities” at the Open Source World Conference in Granada organized by the European Commission. Many great initiatives and projects were presented, among them I’ll talked about OpenJustitia, the new open source project by the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland.

In February 2012 I talked at the Public Management Colloquium in Hamburg about the Open Government Data movement in German speaking countries.

On April 21st 2012 I participated in the Münchenwiler Seminar of the Collegium generale of University of Bern. The sessions were about Open Access, a topic of interest of our Parliamentarian Group for Digital Sustainability since many years. My talk was positioned as kind of an outbreak closing session about open government data.

On April 26th 2012 my parliamentarian colleague Giovanna Battagliero and I founded the cross-party group of Digital Sustainability in the City Parliament of Bern. Starting with 20 members our group covers members of the parliament from left to right. I really hope there will be more such groups founded in other parliaments.

On April 27th 2012 my friend Oleg Lavrovski and I moderated the first Bernese Open Data Hackday. It was actually just an afternoon and evening session, but the result was really great. My favorite app was created by Thomas Preusse visualizing the City of Bern budget as an open budget app. Have a read at Oleg’s blog post, the blog, and the news paper articles in Der Bund and Bernerzeitung.
The Hackday Bern Team

This week I participated at the WSIS Forum 2012 in a UNDESA/ITU session on Future Government: A Global Perspective in connection to open Government Data and Citizen Engagement with a short presentation on Management and Governance of Open Government Data Initiatives.

On June 19th 2012 I will be opening the first open cloud conference in Switzerland. On behalf of the Swiss Open Systems User Group /ch/open we’re organizing many interesting talks at the University of Bern.

On June 28th 2012 the second conference takes place in Zürich. We’ve many great national and international speakers in the plenary session. In the afternoon focus session I’m moderating several interesting talks about finance and procurement: Über­blick zu und wei­te­ren Open Bud­get Initiativen by Fried­rich Lin­den­berg (Ent­wick­ler bei der Open Know­ledge Foundation), Ein kri­ti­scher Blick auf Open Govern­ment Data für Finanzdaten by Maja Menn (Direk­to­rin Finanz­ver­wal­tung Stadt Zürich), Öffnung des Haus­halt­s­pro­zes­ses, Open Bud­get 2.0 & Open Bud­get Data by Chris­tian Gei­ger (Dok­to­rand an der Zep­pe­lin Universität), Stu­die zu offe­nen Bür­ger­haus­hal­ten in Deutschland by Andreas Burth (Dok­to­rand an der Uni­ver­si­tät Hamburg), Erfolgs­fak­to­ren und Her­aus­for­de­run­gen bei der Umset­zung von Bürgerhaushalten by Dr. Alex­an­dra Collm (For­sche­rin an der Uni­ver­si­tät St. Gallen), Warum und wie man eine Open Bud­get App entwickelt by Tho­mas Preuss (Open Bud­get App Entwickler), Ein­blick in die gespi­der­ten Beschaf­fungs­da­ten von by Daniel Meis­ter (data­house AG)

100 days in the city parliament of Bern
Tuesday February 14th 2012, 22:21h
Filed under: FLOSS, Politics

Matthias Stürmer 100 Tage im Berner Stadtrat

For our current newsletter I wrote a short summary of what I experienced during my 100 first days in the Bernese City Parliament:

100 Tage im Berner Stadtrat

Eines vorweg: Stadtpolitik macht mir Spass – viel mehr als ich zuvor gedacht hatte. Einerseits konnte ich in Kürze Kontakt zu vielen spannenden Menschen im Stadtparlament und in der Stadtverwaltung knüpfen. Andererseits spürte ich schon zu Beginn, dass man im Stadtrat tatsächlich etwas bewegen kann.

Am 20. Oktober 2011 startete ich mit meiner ersten Sitzung. Eigentlich hatte ich mir vorgenommen, die ersten paar Male zuzuhören und zu lernen, wie der Ratsbetrieb so zugeht. Es lief anders. Da bekannt war, dass es bei der erwähnten Stadtratssitzung um ein Informatik- Geschäft ging, das ich nicht befürworten konnte, nahm ich im Vorfeld Kontakt auf mit meiner und anderen Fraktionen. So gelang es uns, mit 35 zu 27 Stimmen das Geschäft an den Gemeinderat zurückzuweisen. Im Anschluss daran erarbeitete ich eine überfraktionelle Motion für die Erarbeitung und Umsetzung einer Open-Source-Förderstrategie aus.

In der selben Zeit kontaktierte mich zudem der Leist Oberbottigen. Es ging um die Umzonung, die der Gemeinderat in Riedbach für experimentelles Wohnen plant. Ich informierte mich über dieses Thema und reichte Anfang Januar eine Interpellation mit einigen kritischen Fragen an die Stadtregierung ein. In den nächsten Monaten wollen wir dann in Oberbottigen den Berner Dokufilm «Zaffaraya 3.0» vorführen und so die Diskussion zur Umzonung im Dorf anstossen.

Alles in allem ein spannender Start. Der einzige Wermutstropfen ist die stark begrenzte Zeit, die mir als Milizpolitiker vorgegeben ist. So muss ich mich noch im Zeitmanagement üben, um mich auch in die anderen vielen wichtigen Themen der Stadtpolitik einarbeiten zu können.

Silent Mega Trend 2012: Digital Sustainability
Friday January 06th 2012, 2:23h
Filed under: Digital Sustainability, FLOSS

Today I read a (German) article on mega trends 2012. While I agree with most of the expert’s hype assumptions I missed a statement about the recent developments in the area of open source as well as digital sustainability in general. (At least Ulrike Langer briefly points out the worldwide open data movement.)

I believe there is a “silent mega trend” towards digital sustainability. Current initiatives around open data, open source, open standards, open content, open access etc. show the growing community beyond the commercialized digital world. Its main focus is not how companies can build the most lucrative business models with new technologies but how our society can benefit the most of ICT.

Here are some random evidences (which I’m involved in) that show the growing interest on topics around digital sustainability:

Open Source for Small and Medium Companies
Monday October 31st 2011, 15:19h
Filed under: FLOSS

At first sight Small and Medium Companies (SMEs) may not seem very attracted to open source software (OSS). They have little to save in IT costs if they use e.g. desktop Linux but lots of work to integrate and learn how to use OSS. However, the big potential for SMEs actually comes when they collaboratively develop and maintain certain industry software.

This could be coordinated through their local industry association contracting an open source software company to adapt existing ERP or CRM solutions to specific national regulations. Or the association could even appoint an OSS development company to create a new core business process software. By pooling the resources SMEs can on the one hand save money for the initial purchase of the software and on the other hand share the maintenance costs on the long run.

Recently I did a presentation about the chances of open source software for SMEs at the Chamber of Commerce in Liestal. The audience took it up well and the press reported positively about the event.

(The idea of resource pooling for collaborative open source development by software users works as the recent workshop regarding OOXML improvements in LibreOffice/OpenOffice showed.)

Update 2012-01-04: Just before Xmas a national magazine for SMEs published an article about this topic: Den ande­ren Blick wagen — Der Nut­zen von Open Source Soft­ware für kleine Unternehmen

Article about the event OSS for SMEs

First day in city council of Bern, election campaign continues
Thursday October 20th 2011, 23:57h
Filed under: FLOSS, Politics


Today I had my first day in the city council of Bern. It was a great experience, especially, because I already spoke in the plenum regarding a planned Microsoft Enterprise Agreement. By mobilizing other parties of the parliament we finally won the votation! It’s now already in the online news (Berner Zeitung).


Meanwhile my national election campaign continues. This weekend we’ll see who will go to direct Switzerland the next four years! Here is the campaign of Marc Jost and myself: 2 for 3 - two young politicians for three sustainable topics


Collective Action Initiative by Governments to Improve LibreOffice/
Thursday October 13th 2011, 20:01h
Filed under: FLOSS

I did a presentation at the LibreOffice conference in Paris about our workshop on improving OOXML support within LibreOffice/

Open source software in business-critical environments
Monday August 15th 2011, 22:29h
Filed under: FLOSS

The work of more than half a year is finally seeing daylight: Our new Ernst & Young brochure Open source software in business-critical environments is online as free PDF in German as well as in English.

The broad feedback, especially from the usually highly critical German blog community, is very positive. Also the breakfast events in Bern and Zürich end of June where we presented the paper for the first time were a success: More than 70 participants from banks and insurance companies joined the sessions.

Our parliamentarian group for digital sustainability sent out a press release. And fere is the video recording of my speech in Vienna about the brochure:

More speeches about open source benefits and risks coming up this and next month at ISACA Switzerland and the Wirtschaftskammer Baselland:

Open Source for Business and Communities
Monday June 13th 2011, 18:24h
Filed under: FLOSS, Linux, Research

Promising times for open source: During the last two weeks I had two opportunities to talk about open source in two different European capital cities.

First I spoke in Vienna at the OSS BIG (Open Source Software Business Information Group) Conference about Ernst & Young’s new open source brochure “Open Source Software in Business-Critical Environments”.

Last week I was invited to Red Hat’s EMEA Partner Summit in Dublin to talk about “Doing the Impossible: Managing Open Source Communities”. I even got the honor to be interviewed by the legendary Linux Outlaws on my open source lobbying work and more things (46.4 MB MP3 or 50.6 MB OGG, starting at 1:12:08).

Less is more: Presentation on LibreOffice/
Monday March 07th 2011, 16:26h
Filed under: FLOSS

Here are the slides of my presentation at the Info Society Days 2011 on LibreOffice / (download as PDF)

Viele Benutzer von Office-Software verwenden im Alltag bloss rund 10% der vorhandenen Funktionen. Auch bringt der Wechsel von Microsoft Office 2003 auf Office 2007/2010 grosse Umstellungen in der Benutzerführung mit sich. Aus diesen Gründen und weil Open Source Software grundsätzlich Lizenzkosten-frei ist, macht es Sinn, LibreOffice/ näher kennen zu lernen. Das Referat zeigt auf, wo und wie die Open Source Office-Lösung heute produktiv eingesetzt wird, welches die Vorteile und Herausforderungen sind und was bei der Einführung zu beachten ist.

Institutional Open Source Community Building at CERN
Thursday October 28th 2010, 10:01h
Filed under: FLOSS, Research

Last week I had the opportunity to participate in an open source workshop at CERN, organized by their Technology Transfer office. Among many interesting speakers I talked about institutional open source community building, the main topic of my dissertation. Here are the slides of my second Ernst & Young open source presentation:

Personally I learned that open source software development is an important topic at CERN for many years. E.g. software developers work since 1994 on the data analysis framework ROOT which is not only applied worldwide by research institutions but also in the financial sector because they need to handle petabytes of data as well. This represents a perfect example of software technology transfer from research to industry - the goal also stated in CERN’s Technology Transfer Policy favoring the release of software below open source licenses:

4.1.5 Software
For software developments that are owned in whole or in part by CERN, CERN favors the open source approach.
Exceptions can be made where there is a good reason not to put the software development under open source conditions at a given time. Alternatively a dual licensing scheme can always be considered.

The workshop itself was summarized as following:

Software constitutes an important share of PP [particle physics] developments. Open Source Software (OSS) licences are generally the preferred conditions for users and developers to access the PP community’s codes because these licences offer a suitable environment for the development of large and complex software with appropriate reliability and robustness. However, in terms of commercial exploitation, the OSS scheme suffers from several critical aspects. In order to analyse the situation, the TT Network organises a workshop at CERN on October 21 addressing issues related to the use of open source software for academic and commercial purposes on the basis of practical cases presented by the Nodes. Industry representatives are invited to present their experience in using OSS, engineers from important software institutions to present their experience in TT with OSS and legal experts to address the different OSS licences as well as the mechanisms for doing business with this software. Conclusions and key lessons learned will be the subject of a report to be circulated to the KTT Offices of the PP community.