While you’re here… help us stay here.
Are you enjoying open access to policy and research published by a broad range of organisations? Please donate today so that we can continue to provide this service.
These are the official New Zealand Government guidelines to provide clarity on how government agencies can make their software open source.
Government agencies invest significantly in software development and often own the copyright in the software that they develop or that is developed for them. Public sharing and the licensing of this government-owned software under free and open source software licence terms has the potential to:
(a) save agencies time and money, resulting in a more efficient use of scarce resources;
(b) encourage open innovation on the part of both the public and private sectors;
(c) contribute to economic growth, primarily through the private sector being able to leverage and support government investment in the software it openly releases for re-use;
(d) contribute to the formation of trusted communities of users whose public and private sector members have common or similar goals or interests;
(e) result in continuous and ongoing maintenance of the released software code through these communities of users in a way that may not be achievable by a single agency alone;
(f) enable agencies to better align their operational and strategic activities with relevant aspects of the Government ICT Strategy 2015; and
(g) in some cases, foster transparency – for those who can read software code – as to the methods or algorithms used for the creation or delivery of public data and services, thereby
enabling critical analysis and potentially the provision of improvements back to the releasing agency.
This NZGOAL Software Extension (NZGOAL-SE) provides agencies with a means of realising
this potential. It:
(a) explains the legal and policy context that is relevant to agencies’ open source licensing of software;
(b) sets out a series of policy principles to guide agencies in their open sharing of software code;
(c) advocates the use of particular open source software licences for this purpose; and
(d) sets out a review and release process to guide agencies through the review of the software they propose to release for re-use, the purpose of which is to help agencies make
decisions that are legally robust and practically useful.