The interoperability concept is currently on everyone’s tongue. Everything has to be interoperable. It’s necessary, it’s ideal, it’s legal. Implementation of an IT system or solution wouldn’t come to mind to anybody. Or, at least, consciously.
But, what is the interoperability?
From a technological perspective, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers defined the interoperability as the ability of a system or a product to work with other systems or products without special effort on the part of the customer.
That initial definition have been increased and currently the interoperability is understood as a greater concept. The e-Government Ibero-American Interoperability Framework, together with the European Commission, has defined it with one of the most complete definitions: the interoperability is the ability of disparate and diverse organizations to interact towards mutually beneficial and agreed common goals. It involves the sharing of information and knowledge between the organizations, through the business processes they support, by means of the exchange of data between their respective ICT systems.
Sharing knowledge? Not only information?
Getting mutual benefits? Common goals?
Doesn’t it sound familiar? Open source software?
Perhaps for that the Interoperability National Schema in Spain (and in other countries there will be similar laws) has sentences like these ones:
- “The licensing conditions of the applications and associated documentation, and any other information objects which public authorities are holders of intellectual property rights and that they can make available to other public administrations and citizens, without nothing in return or any agreement, they will take into account that the aim pursued is the use and reuse. “
- “For open source applications, administrations will use licenses that assure that programs, data or information that are shared: a) Can be executed for any purpose. b) Allow to know their source code. c) Can be modified and improved . d) Can be redistribute to other users with or without changes, but keeping these four guarantees.”
- “Administrations will link application directories for their free reuse…”.
- “Indicates that the Administrations should take into account the available solutions for free reuse, that can satisfy (all or part) of the needs of the new systems and services or improving and updating those already implemented.”
- “Public administrations will try to publish the application source code, in development or finished, for their free reuse in order to favor sharing, reusing and collaborating actions, in benefit of a better efficiency.”
That’s interesting, isn’t that?
I’m going to read this: “the aim pursued is the use and reuse”. And “should take into account the available solutions for free reuse”, and “improving and updating those already implemented”.
All of this… how was it?… wait… yes, “in benefit of a better efficiency”.
That’s a wonder! I don’t know why we complain!
Now we only hope that it is achieved and our public administrations leave the Middle Age and bet on open source software, share technologies, invest in improving the existing solutions, and… finally, they are interoperable.