In a country like Albania, where millions of Euros of taxpayers money are spent for proprietary software, the importance of free libre open source software (FLOSS) cannot be overstated. In Albania, the dedicated FLOSS community at Open Labs has taken a step forward by launching once again the Public Money Public Code (PMPC) campaign during the local elections held in 2023. This campaign aimed to promote the licensing of software developed by local governments and municipalities under free libre open source licenses. In this blog post, we will review in retrospective the work carried out by our passionate community members that worked for several months for the implementation of this campaign.
The first crucial task undertaken by Open Labs hackerspace members was to compile a comprehensive list of all participating political parties and candidates running in the local elections. This was not an easy task as many political parties and candidates did not have a public email that we could use to reach them. Unfortunatelly this has been the case also in previous PMPC campaign that Open Labs initiated in the previous elections. After documenting all the contact emails at wiki.openlabs.cc we reached out to each candidate and party, informing them about the importance of licensing software developed by local governments under a floss licenses and asked about their approach if they got elected.
To track the progress of their efforts, the PMPC working group diligently recorded the responses received from candidates regarding their position on open source licensing. This meticulous approach allowed them to maintain an up-to-date record of each candidate’s stance, as well as those who failed to respond making it easier for voters to be informed.
The dedicated page on the Open Labs wiki instance became the central repository for all the gathered information. This transparency enabled the open source community and the public to access the collected data and evaluate the candidates based on their commitment to open source principles.
the many positive outcomes of the PMPC campaign, one significant
success was the endorsement of the campaign’s principles by one of the
political parties that run for the capital city of Tirana. One of the
participating parties recognized the value of public money being
invested in software that can be freely used, modified, and distributed.
Embracing the PMPC campaign, this party integrated the open source software licensing policy into their political program. This encouraging development showcases the influence and impact of the open source community in shaping the political landscape, ensuring the use of public funds contributes to the greater good.
The PMPC campaign not only gained traction within the political sphere but also garnered some media attention. A prominent media outlet recognized the significance of the campaign’s objectives and published an article shedding light on the importance of open source software in the public sector. This media coverage further amplified the reach of the PMPC campaign, raising awareness among a broader audience.
The campaign could not be possible without recognizing the support received from the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE). The FSFE, renowned for its dedication to promoting and protecting open source software, provided invaluable assistance to the PMPC working group and Open Labs throughout the campaign, strengthening their efforts and amplifying their message.
Inspired by the work done so far in relation to the PMPC campaign in the local elections, Open Labs members have set their sights on the future. Our next steps involve translating promotional materials to reach a wider audience and collaborating closely with the FSFE and other partners to review and refine the campaign’s strategies and objectives.
Looking ahead, the PMPC working group at Open Labs hackerspace is determined to carry the torch forward and expand the efforts to the national level. With the next general elections in Albania scheduled for 2025, they aim to develop a robust campaign tailored to the specific needs of a larger political arena.