“Germany should have a policy to increase the use of free software by public administrations. Citizens should not be forced to buy specific software for interacting with their public administration, says Hofmann. The latter is “one of the fundamental reasons that Munich started using free software.”
The biggest interoperability problem is caused by different document formats, Hofmann testified. He explained that the vast majority of Germany’s public administrations continue to exchange documents formatted in proprietary formats. A national guideline recommends the use of the vendor-independent Open Document Format, but this policy fails because ODF is not enforced, Hofmann said.”
The other chain that binds is the habit of buying Wintel…
“A Polish civil IT procurement watchdog has filed legal objections to a procurement notice published by the Polish Ministry of Regional Development. In August the ministry posted a request for licences for a specific proprietary computer operating system. European procurement rules forbid requesting specific brands or products.”
The world does not owe M$ and its “partners” a living. Governments should procure and use software that works for them and the best interests of their people. With governments struggling to balance budgets, it should be obvious to all that throwing money away on unneeded software licences is wrong. Why pay M$ for permission to operate Europe’s computers? It should be obvious that open standards, not standards designed to protect monopolies, are the right way to do IT. Claiming that monopoly is a standard does not fly in the 21st century.
I recommend Debian GNU/Linux. There is so much software in their repository that if it’s not in there you probably don’t need it. If you do need something not in there it’s probably less costly for all the governments to get together and write it themselves than pay M$ and “partners” to do it. Make sure it is a web application so that lock-in keeps getting harder to achieve. Many governments are larger and better funded than M$ and have no need that their IT assets be held hostage. Joinup is a European organization dedicated to sharing such products. It’s working.
Look how many €millions Munich is ahead having done the hard work. If all the governments in Europe had done the same, the savings would have been €billions by now. It’s never too late to start and sooner is better than later. Governments are leaders in their societies as well so the benefits governments receive from FLOSS will benefit citizens multiple ways. While they are fixing their own IT they should ensure that retail shelves open up for FLOSS. Governments should not allow monopoly to exclude FLOSS from consumers PCs.