According to the plans of the Open Knowledge Foundation, a new “Sovereign Tech Fund” is to support open source projects in the future. On Tuesday, the foundation presented a feasibility study for a new state funding program. “The goal is to sustainably strengthen the open source ecosystem, with a focus on security, resilience, technological diversity and the people behind the projects,” says the project description.
Wanted: Underfunded basic technologies
The funding program is intended to address a well-known dilemma: Almost every company and every end user uses open source software – whether consciously or unconsciously. But central software projects, on which commercial companies naturally also rely, are chronically underfunded and depend on the commitment of individual developers. Security gaps or even deliberate manipulation can have unforeseeable effects. A Model for the funding program is the American Open Technology Fund.
The new agency is supposed to according to the plans fund up to 30 projects per year. For particularly essential projects, the individual funding can therefore amount to up to 500,000 euros. The funding should not only be open to applications. The employees of the new company should look specifically for “critical basic technologies” for which this support would have particularly great effects.
The Bundestag has to decide whether the project can become a reality. The chances are not bad: the MPs had already decided on the feasibility study in the last legislative period. In addition, the promotion of “digital sovereignty” has been very popular with German legislators for several years. The games industry is funded with 50 million euros annually, the agency for jump innovations has a budget of 150 million euros.