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Open Source in the Munich City Administration

In Open Source Software, the source code is public and can be viewed, modified and used by third parties. The City of Munich uses open source software for many reasons.

Strategic advantages

  • Through open source software, we increase vendor independence. By being able to switch vendors and solutions, we can avoid unilateral dictation of function or price by the vendor.
  • The reuse of software is facilitated. Code that is made open source can be easily reused by other agencies or public sector IT providers without contractual agreements or financial arrangements. This can save taxpayer money.
  • Cooperations with other government agencies or public sector IT providers are easily possible. This allows LHM to achieve its goals with less budget.
  • Publicly available code can be easily reviewed for security vulnerabilities. Moreover, security vulnerabilities can be closed without the vendor. This is also the strategic position of the BSI, as well as the AG KRITIS.
  • The transparency about the software and its development creates trust in the population towards the administration.
  • Committed citizens can participate in projects and thus contribute innovative ideas and reduce the required municipal budget.
  • Public Code generates positive public relations and contributes to our recruitment marketing for IT professionals.

In addition to the benefits of open source software for us as an IT service provider, we also comply with legal and political requirements.

The city council elected in March 2020 has taken a clear and sustainable position on the topic of open source:

Wo immer technisch und finanziell möglich setzt die Stadt auf offene Standards und freie Open Source-lizenzierte Software und vermeidet damit absehbare Herstellerabhängigkeiten. Diese Abwägung nehmen wir als Kriterium für Ausschreibungen mit auf, eine Abweichung von diesem Grundsatz muss begründet werden.[1]

Wherever technically and financially possible, the city relies on open standards and free open source licensed software and thus avoids foreseeable manufacturer dependencies. We include this consideration as a criterion for tenders; any deviation from this principle must be justified.[1:1]

An important step towards integrating the topic of open source into the orientation of IT was the inclusion of the topic in the strategic orientation of LHM's IT adopted by the City Council on 11.11.2020:

3.6. Die IT der LHM setzt priorisiert Open Source-Lösungen ein, wenn wirtschaftlich und technologisch oder strategisch sinnvoll. Wenn wirtschaftlich und technologisch oder strategisch sinnvoll, setzt die LHM priorisiert Open Source-Lösungen ein, um insbesondere Firmenabhängigkeiten zu vermeiden. Die LHM verfolgt diesen Ansatz sowohl im Anwendungs- als auch im Infrastruktur-Bereich. Die IT der LHM stellt Eigenentwicklungen, die frei von Rechten Dritter sind, als Open Source der Community zur Verfügung.

3.6 LHM IT prioritizes the use of open source solutions when economically and technologically or strategically appropriate. If economically and technologically or strategically sensible, LHM prioritizes the use of open source solutions, in particular to avoid company dependencies. LHM pursues this approach in both the application and infrastructure areas. LHM's IT makes proprietary developments that are free of third-party rights available to the community as open source.

The Bavarian Digital Act - BayDiG Art. 3 Para.4 Sentence 1 also obliges us to use open software:

Die Behörden des Freistaates Bayern sollen bei Neuanschaffungen offene Software verwenden und offene Austauschstandards nutzen, soweit dies wirtschaftlich und zweckmäßig ist

The authorities of the Free State of Bavaria shall use open software in new acquisitions and shall use open exchange standards insofar as this is economical and expedient


Free software is becoming the standard in modern software development.
Other municipalities, such as the cities of Berlin, Dortmund or Barcelona, also use and contribute to open source.

But commercial companies are also participating in free software. These are traditionally software companies (e.g. Zalando, Google, Microsoft, Apple) but also companies that do not come from the software industry (e.g. Deutsche Bahn, Mercedes Benz or Siemens).

IT architecture classification

In highly standardized IT areas such as operating systems, network components, databases and end devices, IT architecture relies on the standard solutions of the IT market. This serves to ensure that only those paths are taken which do not prove to be wrong paths or dead ends a few years later. Often, due to the large market, the greatest innovative power is concentrated in the standard solutions, since this is where most resources are invested. Thus, open source solutions are not necessarily used here, but in many areas open source solutions have become established as the standard, and are therefore also used by default at the City of Munich. One example is Linux as the operating system for servers.

Especially in the area of municipal software we are often challenged to develop free software ourselves.

Software service quadrant model

Structuring of the solution space for IT solutions - the approaches differ depending on the classification from the point of view of the state capital Munich

  1. Coalition agreement for the city council period 2020 - 2026, or ↩︎ ↩︎