The City of Vancouver will move toward using open-source software, open standards, and open data, after council voted yesterday (May 21) to endorse these principles.
“We shouldn’t be fearful about the public knowing what we know,” Vision Vancouver councillor Andrea Reimer told the council meeting, referring to prospect of the city releasing open and accessible data.
Reimer’s motion, seconded by Coun. Geoff Meggs, pushed for a greater role for open-source technology in the city’s bureaucracy and operations.
Open-source software allows users to access its code and modify and redistribute it. It’s often a community effort and typically available for free. Proprietary software, on the other hand, is “closed source” and is usually upgraded at a cost.
Reimer, backed by several speakers from the open-source community, argued that bringing open source, open standards, and open data to city hall will help result in a “more economically vibrant and environmentally sustainable city”.
After debating the motion before and after lunch, council voted unanimously to adopt most of the proposals, including the three core principles of open and accessible data, open standards for data and documents, and open-source software.
Lone Non-Partisan Association councillor Suzanne Anton was opposed to some aspects of the wordy motion, but supported the concept in principle.
As an example of one of the constraints that proprietary software can pose, open-source software user Bobbie Bees noted in a colourful speech that he can’t access old council videos because they are in a proprietary format that Linux users can’t view.