2009. november 26., csütörtök

European ministers favour open specifications and open source

European ministers responsible for eGovernment policy of the European Union say the open source model could be promoted for use in eGovernment projects, they said in a statement last week in the Swedish city of Malmö. Addressing open specifications, the ministers state: "It is important to create a level playing field where open competition can take place in order to ensure best value for money."

The Malmö declaration was adopted on Thursday 18 November. In it the minister also expressed their attention on open standards. "We will ensure that open specifications are promoted in our national interoperability frameworks in order to lower barriers to the market."

In a press conference on the declaration on 19 November, Siim Kallas, vice president of the European Commission, expressed concerns on the use of open source software. "We have intensive discussions within the Commission. Of course we are very much in favour of free competition, especially in this new area like information technology. But at the same time there is a question of business continuity guarantees. All these things must be addressed properly."

Swedish minister for Local Government Mats Odell added that Sweden is very much in favour of open source. "We are really trying to introduce this in broad base and encourage different agencies and public entities to use open source."


In a statement published this week, the open source advocacy group Open Forum Europe (OFE) welcomes the Malmö Declaration 'for its implicit support for openness'.

However, the group says the EU's member states and the Commission should have demanded "that the European Commission shows greater leadership in setting definitive strategies for interoperability frameworks".

The group fears the Commission will only passively acknowledge open standards. "Such frameworks rely not just on clear strategies but solid implementation. Government procurement practice needs stronger focus. To quote Commissioner Kroes, 'we must walk the talk'."

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