History of Free Software in the Netherlands
This page is in English on purpose, to enable as many people to read it. Translations are welcome and can be offered on a /<language> page, like /nl /de /fr.
The Netherlands has a long running history of Free Software and related subjects. Still the adoption of Free Software by the government is lacking as this page shows. This page focusses on the public sector for which the efforts have been well documented.
1977 Start of Hobby Computer Club (HCC)
- Has an 'Open Source' group
1979 Opening of Computer Collectief (ComCol) store
- Located in Amsterdam
- Seller of books and software including Linux distro's.
Declared bankruptcy in 2011 after some previous company restructuring: https://tweakers.net/nieuws/77540/computercollectief-maakt-doorstart-na-faillissement.html
1982 Creation of NLnet
- Creation of NLnet as a project under the concept of developing an European network (EUnet)
- 👤 Teus Hagen
1983 Start of Netherlands Local Unix User Group (NLUUG)
1985 Start of Microcomputer Club Nederland ?
- Start end end dates are uncertain.
- Operated in the 80s.
- Published magazines. Not sure how that related to free software.
1985 Start of AT Computing
- Unix (now Linux) consultancy and training
1987 First release of MINIX
- MINIX was a microkernel for which the source code was available for educational purposes.
- It iniatiated a software community, including Linus Torvalds.
- MINIX was released under a free software BSD license in 2000.
- 👤 Andrew S. Tanenbaum
1988 First release of Vim
- 👤 Bram Moolenaar
1989 Start of NLnet foundation
- After 1982 creation of NLnet
1989 Start of magazine Hack-Tic
- 👤 Rop Grongrijp
1991 First release of Python
First release of the Python programming language. Initially built at the National Research Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science (CWI).
- In 2000 it was released under a GPL-compatible license
- 👤 Guido van Rossum
1994 Start of Community internet project De Digitale Stad
- 👤 Marleen Stikker
1994 Start of ISP XS4ALL
- Originating from Hack-Tic
- 👤 Rop Gonggrijp
1994 Start of Maatschappij voor Oude en Nieuwe Media (now: Waag Society)
- 👤 Marleen Stikker
- 👤 Caroline Nevejan
1995 Start of Webwereld
- News website
Ended in 2020 after which the articles were moved to https://www.computerworld.com/
- Famous for 'lektober' when in October of 2011 for the duration of a month, each day a privacy leak was published by Brenno de Winter.
- 👤 Brenno de Winter (journalist)
1996 Creation of NL Linux User Group (NLLGG)
1997 Start of NLnet Foundation
1998 First release of Postfix
- 👤 Wietse Venema
1998-09 Start of Tweakers.net
- 👤 Femme Taken
- Community-focused tech website with plenty of room for Free Software on the forum and in news articles.
1999 Question PM Lambrechts
2000 Start of Bits of Freedom
2002 Start of Blender Foundation
Community project around the 3D engine to buy the source code after bankruptcy.
FOSDEM 2020 talk: https://fosdem.org/2020/schedule/event/blender/
Economic paper "Blender and the Street Performer Protocol:Freak success or first of a trend?A Case Study of Open Source Economics.", Neus 2020 https://download.blender.org/documentation/pdf/Neus-Blender-SPP.pdf
- Release under GPL by FSFE support (👤 Loic Dachary)
- First Blender conference that year
- 👤 Ton Roosendaal
2002-08 association of municipalities warns about lock-in with software vendors
- Vereniging van Nederlandse Gemeenten (VNG)
- Binnenlands Bestuur, «Gemeenten willen zich ontworstelen aan wurggreep software-leveranciers», 2 augustus 2002
2002-11 GroenLinks party plan 'baas over de eigen bits'
The green party GroenLinks publishes a plan in which they take the stance that the government should adopt Open Source Software.
Microsoft publicly responded against the stance by GroenLinks https://tweakers.net/nieuws/24388/microsoft-nederland-protesteert-tegen-groenlinks-plan.html
👤 Kees Vendrik (PM, GroenLinks)
👤 Rens van Tilburg (Scientific bureau GroenLinks)
- 👤 Michel van der Bel (CEO Microsoft Nederland)
- 👤 Maurice Wessling (Bits of Freedom)
- 👤 Joost Helberg (Chairman of Vereniging Open Source Nederland (VOSN))
- 👤 dhr van Veen, Hoofd Informatiebeleid, Vereniging van Nederlandse Gemeenten (VNG)
2002-11 Motion by PM Vendrik
- Submitted 20 November 2020
Based on the action plan by GroenLinks published earlier
Minutes at the second chamber https://zoek.officielebekendmakingen.nl/h-tk-20022003-1513-1518.html
👤 Kees Vendrik (PM, GroenLinks)
- Refers to publication by municipalities earlier in the year: Binnenlands Bestuur, «Gemeenten willen zich ontworstelen aan wurggreep software-leveranciers», 2 augustus 2002
2003 Start program OS&OSS
2004 Questions to the minister
- Questions by Martijn van Dam about the adoption of open source software by the government and a recent news article that Microsoft is hading a known vulnerability.
News about posed questions: https://tweakers.net/nieuws/31377/kamerlid-legt-ministerraad-vragen-over-open-source-voor.html
News about the vulnerability https://tweakers.net/nieuws/30991/microsoft-waarschuwt-voor-veiligheidslek-in-windows.html
- 👤 Martijn van Dam (PM, PvdA)
- 👤 Minister Thom De Graaf van Bestuurlijke Vernieuwing en Koninkrijksrelaties (D66)
2005 Release of Eekboek accounting software
- Commonly used in the Dutch Free Software community for accounting
2006-03 Start of College for standardization and Forum standardization
2006 Continuation of OS&OSS program under a new name: OSOSS
2007-03 Rejected motion by Aptroot and Vendrik
2008-01 Start actionplan Nederland Open in Verbinding (NOiV)
2008-11 Enforcement of new instruction for procurement of ICT services or products
2009-01 First progress report of NOiV
2009-06 First ODF plugfest in Royal library in The Hague
2010 Start of Linux Magazine
- Outspoken for free software, also offering a podium for related opinions, businesses and organizations including FSFE.
2010-05 Motion Gerkens for a research by the Court of Audits
2010-07 Second progress report NOiV
2011 ? Start of BNL
- Mark Lamers starts the BNL Local Group
2011-03-15 Report open standards by the Court of Audits
2011-11 7th ODF plugfest in library in Gouda
2012 Start of parliamentary inquiry into ICT projects at the government
- Temporary committee looking into projects and their failure
- Final report in October 2014
- 👤 Ton Elias (VVD), voorzitter
- 👤 Hanke Bruins Slot (CDA)
- 👤 Manon Fokke (PvdA)
- 👤 Paul van Meenen (D66)
- 👤 Paul Ulenbelt (SP), ondervoorzitter
- 👤 Harm Beertema (PVV) - Stepped out of the committee before the end
2012 Start of Internet4All foundation
To further projects relating to internet.
- Originates from the XS4ALL internet provider
2013-01 Start of Fairphone
- Originated from the Waag Society, started with a crowdfunding effort.
- 👤 Bas van Abel
- 👤 Tessa Wernink
- 👤 Miquel Ballester
2013-10 New coordinators for FSFE BNL
- Maurice Verheesen joins the FSFE Core team to coordinate the Dutch activities.
- Felix Stegerman joins in the role of Vice-Coordinator
2014-01-21 News article on free software adoption by City of Ede
- Positive news article about how Ede ends up spending way less on software licenses by choosing free software.
2014-10-15 Report by parliamentary inquiry committee ICT
- Concludes that the government has lost control over ICT projects, and suggests improvements:
- Creation of a temporary ICT authority: BIT (Bureau ICT-toetsing)
- The parliament should gain a better understanding in the technical execution and duration of ICT-projects.
- A more central steering of ICT policy by making a single minister responsible for it.
- To support all ICT projects in the government with a projectorganization, including 'Non-ministerial government departments (NMGDs)' ('zelfstandige bestuursorganen (ZBOs)').
- Improvement of procurement and contractmanagement surrounding ICT projects.
2014 Grid operator Alliander publishes Open Smart Grid Platform
- Communication platform for control of infrastructure. Initial focus on public lighting.
2015-03-06 Launch of CodeForNL foundation
- Supported by: Waag Society, Gemeente Amsterdam, Code for All
- Manifest article at the end of 2014 based on the report by the ICT committee.
2015-10 11th ODF plugfest in Royal library in The Hague
Organized by OpenDoc Society. Hosted by Logius and Forum Standaardisatie.
- Logius Director Steven Luitjens and Forum Standaardisatie chairman Nico Westplam van Hoorn have spoken for the adoption of ODF.
2015 Motion Oosenbrug and Gesthuizen
Direct PDF link https://www.tweedekamer.nl/downloads/document?id=2015D12833
- Correctly handle open standards in all procurements before the end of 2015
- Develop exit strategies that enables termination of software relationships within 5 years to and prevents dependence on a single vendor
- Set out the requirements for each procurement in such a way that open source applications have an equal opportunity and to explain the choice for a close source application
2015 Start of Bureau for ICT review (BIT)
- Bureau ICT-toetsing (BIT)
- After the report by parliamentary inquiry commission ICT late 2014.
- Independent review for projects concering more than 5 milion euro.
- 👤 Sander van Amerongen (ad interim suppervisor, previously PwC)
- Staff for coordinating the review process and a changing team of experts
2016 Launch of IRMA project
Project originating from the Radboud University of Nijmegen to provide a better means for authentication. Later the Privacy by Design foundation was created to support this effort.
2016 Launch of PDOK geodata service
2016-08 DUO and municipality Ede want to move away from Oracle databases
2016-09 Dutch tax office looking for Linux-on-mainframe supplier
2016-12 Article about governmental data centre software
2017 Start of Foundation for Public Code
2017-03 Start rollout DWR-Next government desktop environment
- Microsoft Windows 10
- Microsoft Office
- Skype for Business
- Adobe pdf reader
2017-04 Europe is dependent on Microsoft
2017-04-18 Studygroup advise to speed up government digitization
2017-05 Government publication on current state
- Page 78: ongoing investigation into Open Source as a way of increasing government transparency.
2017-07 Government pulls the plug on citizen administration system
- Based on a report by the Bureau Ict Toetsing (BIT)
Finally released as free software: https://github.com/MinBZK/OperatieBRP
- 👤 Minister Ronald Plasterk (PvdA)
2017-08-16 National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) tool for cleaning network traces
2017-09-01 Consultation for changing market regulations
2017-10 Gartner research Open Source Software publication
2017-12 Budget debate 2018
Vraag van Verhoeven tijdens de begrotingsbehandeling Binnenlandse Zaken en Koninkrijksrelaties van 16 november 2017 (Handelingen II 2017/18, nr. 23, item 6, 9 en 12).
2019 Electrical grid operators Tennet and Alliander join Linux Foundation Energy
2019 Creation of Freedom ISP after battle over XS4ALL brand
- Starting with a e-mail, expanding to internet services
- Has commited to financially support Bits of Freedom
2020-04 Corona apps
Government wanting to have a variety of apps for dealing with the Corona virus. Initially the requirement was public source code (no free license required) assuming vendors had working solutions. As it turned out the solutions were not ready, the health Minister set Open Source as an additional requirement going forward.
2020-04 Open Source by default letter
Letter by the minister of internal affairs to the Parliament.
2021-08 Router Freedom in NL
2021-09 Effort to get QR-apps in F-Droid
- Effort by supporter Felix Stegerman
2021-11 Passing of 5 principles in municipality of Delft for digital sovereignty
- Effort by Piratenpartij Delft by supporter Jan Vlug in collaboration with coalition party STIP (STudents In Politics).
Reply by college: https://delft.raadsinformatie.nl/document/10549498/1
iBestuur press coverage: https://ibestuur.nl/nieuws/delftse-principes-voor-digitale-soevereiniteit
2022-01 Follow-up on principles of sovereignty in Amsterdam and Borne
- Supporters Geert-Jan and Jos put in the effort to raise it in their municipalities
2023-01 Market regulator ACM decides not to act on complaint about municipality using open source
- No reason to think that the municipality sharing code as open source interferes with the market
- Decision made at the end of 2022, between Bloqzone and municipality of Nijmegen
More research needed
Placeholder for some items that are prominent part of the Free Software history but cannot be placed on a timeline.
- Book 'Het internet is stuk' by Marleen Stikker has multiple historical references.