German government funding for GPG

Posted 15 Nov 1999 at 17:50 UTC by advogato Share This

Heise reported (in German) this morning that the German government has donated 250,000 DM to the GPG project, led by Werner Koch.

Advogato is very happy to see this, and believes that this could well be the first major instance of a new source of funding support for free software developers: good, old-fashioned government subsidy. While this model will offend staunch libertarians, there's actually a fair amount to recommend it. After all, this is basically how academic research is funded. US government investment in Computer Science research runs somewhere around $1.3e9 per year. Obviously, channeling even a tiny fraction of that directly toward free software could make a big difference.

Of course, it must be recognized that a small but significant fraction of that money is already being diverted to free software, as quite a number of free software developers are graduate students or otherwise involved in academic research. Further, a fair amount of academic research gets released as free software.

Nonetheless, this move is significant because it signals a direct investment into a free software development project, rather than simply free software as a side effect of something else. Advogato wishes Werner and the GPG project the best in these exciting times.

More discussion, as well as a few different English translations, can be found at Slashdot.


This is just a rumor ;), posted 16 Nov 1999 at 16:27 UTC by werner » (Master)

The information has somehow leaked out to the Heise Verlag. We do not have a confirmation about this yet but we expect it in a few days. I will write a few lines about the project when it has been confirmed by the German administration.

Rumor confirmed, posted 5 Dec 1999 at 04:27 UTC by raph » (Master)

Just as a followup, a press release was recently issued which confirms this rumor. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi). The main focus of the funded project is to make GPG accessible to less sophisticated users, for example by creating a GUI frontend.

The funding of GnuPG is only a very first step: the German government already has announced to support follow-up free software (open source) projects.

:-), posted 29 May 2003 at 05:16 UTC by gilbou » (Observer)

Excellent news :-)

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