Smart cities: technical decisions, political decisions


We want to close the posts related to Smart Cities and to the unbreakable relation between Smart Cities and open source software, with a question not many times taken into account and many times ignored. Talking about software, which part should be a political decision and which part should be a technical one?.

Before carrying on, if you have not read the previous posts, you should do it. You will find how the main reasons are argued to explain why the arguments for the main reasons for why one Smart City must necessarily have its information systems (geographic and any other type) based on open source technologies.

Because it is the only guarantee for the technological independence.

Because it reduces asymmetries and the digital gap between cities.

Because it eases the reuse of solutions, the joining force.

Today, we find that despite of the logic of the arguments and the supporting laws, in the projects related to the Smart Cities, outrageous amount of public money is spent in the acquisition of licences. Who is responsible for this? The technician or the politician? Who should define the terms in contracting these tools for managing the public services?

Our experience is that the regulation is defined by the technical department. A group of civil servants who work in a technical area, define the functional requirements and also, trained in the university and used to work with some branches…indicating that the services should include some software licences. This situation makes that or the technician has knowledge of the harmful impact of implementing privative software in the institutions and with a sense of responsibility to avoid them…or we will have another case of technological dependence of one institution.

And the politician? Well, sadly, in the 99% of the cases they have not interest in software, technology, do not matter! That is, It doesn´t seem important. In so many cases, there is also some lack of communication between politics and technology

Let´s imagine that a new infrastructure is need to be done, one highway, one road, one park, one school, one hospital….choose any of them.

Which will be the technical decisions? The type of asphalt, the election of tress, etc…Anybody can imagine that the road was public or with a toll, if the road was for public use or not, that the school was private or public?…the decisions to take about the use of any infrastructure are political decisions. Why with the technological infrastructure doesn’t happen the same?

These analogies are to determine that the use of open source software should be always a decision political and not technical.

We hope that these posts have been of your interest and they will serve to open a necessary debate. From the gvSIG Association offer our experience and knowledge to bet on Smart Cities and free solutions.

We need smart cities, but being technologically free

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