The new Government Site Builder powered by TYPO3

We are delighted to announce that the official CMS of the Federal Government is based on a free open-source CMS: TYPO3.

Closed-source was the only option for a long time

Since 2005, there has been an official CMS for the German federal government. The advantage was clear: instead of repeatedly integrating the same functions and the same uniform design into websites, a common foundation could be built upon.

Up until 2018, this Government Site Builder (yes, it's the German name) was based on the proprietary software CoreMedia. The license was only valid for federal institutions. States and municipalities had to purchase their own licenses.

For a long time, we tried to evangelize at every opportunity: Why assure taxpayer money to a single manufacturer when there are already numerous proven open-source solutions that can be used as a "public good"? Developments funded by public money would then ultimately benefit the general public.

Open-source becomes acceptable

In 2017, the Free Software Foundation Europe launched the campaign "Public Money - Public Code", which finally reached a broader public. We cannot prove it, but in our observation, something changed in the public sector's tenders after that. The development and publication of open-source solutions were demanded much more frequently.

Back to the Government Site Builder (GSB). Version 10 was an evaluation edition, "based on open-source components". In the "Nutzungsbedingungen für Evaluierungszwecke" (Terms of use for evaluation purposes, PDF in German language from 23 February 2021), there are phrases like "usage rights only for internal test purposes" and "not authorized to decompile the software". Well, first cautious steps on unfamiliar terrain, we understand that.

Tadaa: It's a TYPO3

The Government Site Builder 11 is now officially "based on the Open Source Content Management System TYPO3". ITZBund highlights the advantages of TYPO3 (translated quote):

  • TYPO3 is designed for professional, accessible, secure, stable, and scalable use and benefits from an active open-source community in the German-speaking area.
  • Due to the large number of relevant functions, quick maintenance and care are possible.
  • Due to the wide distribution of TYPO3 in federal administration, a simple GSB migration and quick training can be expected.
  • The long-term support over 3 years is a significant feature for the stability and reliability of TYPO3 CMS.

The official release or "approval" of the GSB 11.1.1 release is planned for the end of 2023 so that a rollout can begin from 2024.

Reason for Optimism

The "active open-source community" is seen as one of the advantages. Let's hope that the federal institutions manage to think of further developments in a generic way so that they can subsequently be published as general TYPO3 developments.

It may be more than a coincidence that the Bundesministerium des Innern und für Heimat (Federal Ministry of the Interior and for Home Affairs) reported in October 2021: New also for TYPO3 – Login with the online ID. The extension was developed and published (as well as a WordPress plugin) on behalf of the Bundesamtes für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik (BSI) (Federal Office for Information Security). It works.

Reason for Joy

As the umbrella organization of the most relevant FOSS CMS, we officially rejoice that the persistent efforts of us and other FOSS organizations have finally borne fruit. We are particularly pleased because during the evaluation round for the new official government CMS, our advice was sought (and accepted). The preselection had already been narrowed down to Drupal and TYPO3 at that time. We answered many questions about software suitability and general questions about open-source use. We are pleased that this was time well invested.