European Parliament Leans Towards Free Software

I’ve long held that FLOSS is the right way to do IT. The European Parliament tends to agree:“We find that lock-in and vendor dependence are difficult to reconcile with the principle of openness and of “utmost transparency” to which Parliament has committed itself. In our view, Parliament should not take lowest costs as an absolute metric in its strategic choices of IT systems. Rather, technologies that allow others to work with Parliament’s own systems and data should be privileged, even if they were to incur some extra costs.

We conclude that the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament should whenever possible make Free Software and Open Standards mandatory for all systems and data used for the work of Parliament. In our view, that is the most appropriate way for the Parliament to meet its own standard of “utmost transparency”.”

See Piana, Carlo; Oberg, Ulf (2014) ‘Ensuring utmost transparency – Free Software and
Open Standards under the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament
‘,
International Free and Open Source Software Law Review, 6(1), pp 11 – 50
DOI: 10.5033/ifosslr.v6i1.105

Of course, there are many more reasons to use FLOSS. “openness” certainly raises the level of confidence one can have in the software but it also increases the reliability and efficiency of the software, things that matter and affect the bottom line. With non-Free software, there are motives to include inefficient code, to do the work of others rather than the users of the software. It also costs less to produce FLOSS since authours can use the works of others to build FLOSS, a great efficiency. Instead of every product needing to re-invent the wheel or pay to use a copy, every product can largely consist of re-used code. This also allows authours to put their full energy into the innovative parts of a product instead of trying to comply with endless restrictive software licences.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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12 Responses to European Parliament Leans Towards Free Software

  1. luvr says:

    But you could at least have the grace to admit that this is what you are doing.

    Hmmm… He must have learned that from you, then.

  2. DrLoser, rewriting history, wrote, “the document upon which your OP focuses carries no such implication whatsoever. Yet you claimed that it did.”

    That’s not what I claimed. I claimed the EU Parliament is leaning to FLOSS. Of course they are. The subsequent link clearly shows that. They’ve trialed FLOSS too. They wouldn’t have done that if they weren’t interested. The trial happened not to have gone well but the current head of IT is OK with FLOSS and may well do a better job now that the Parliament has expressed its opinion.

  3. DrLoser says:

    Uh, their head of IT…

    Nevertheless, the document upon which your OP focuses carries no such implication whatsoever. Yet you claimed that it did. And I am pointing out that your claim is factually incorrect and that it is in any case a gross distortion of how the EC works.

    We can only work with the cites on offer, Robert. If you choose to switch to a completely different cite, once your initial premise has been conclusively demolished, then that is up to you.

    But you could at least have the grace to admit that this is what you are doing.

  4. DrLoser wrote, “Outside the confines of the German Greens’ document, this does not imply any sort of commitment to FLOSS whatsoever.”

    Uh, their head of IT…

    The European Parliament wants its IT department to rehabilitate its Linux desktop pilot.

    See EU Committee On Budgetary Control
    “regrets the discontinuation of the European Parliament Linux distribution configuration, which was never marketed or targeted towards members and staff who would have had an interest in such a project; notes that the introduction of new working tools for Members and staff assumes that pilot-phase testing of such working tools is done only in cooperation with such members and staff that are willing to endure the additional work that pilot-phase testing entails;

    remarks that open source solutions for firewalls are readily available and should be explored; insists that it is of utmost concern that Parliament and its administration are not seen to contribute to hardships and oppression through its ICT procurement;”

    Yeah, they vote for amendments totally supportive of FLOSS, but aren’t totally supportive of FLOSS. [SARCASM]

  5. DrLoser says:

    Evidently you are not very good at reading TFA, Robert. Lucky you have me here to do so for you:

    the European Parliament has imposed upon itself a further commitment to conduct its activities with the utmost transparency.

    Outside the confines of the German Greens’ document, this does not imply any sort of commitment to FLOSS whatsoever.

    Oh, and I recommend you buy (or perhaps borrow from a neighbour — it is quite expensive, at £1.50) a copy of the UK satirical magazine “Private Eye.” They have a regular cartoon feature called “EU-phemisms,” in which an EC bureaucrat says one thing whilst secretly believing in the precise opposite.

    It would be very funny if it wasn’t so true, as I’m sure Kurks will attest. (The “spoof” comments on Germany vs Greece are disturbingly accurate.)

  6. oiaohm says:

    kurkosdr
    X.org and PulseAudio are Free Software but they do not have a clear standard (the documentation is laughable).
    You need to change that statement.

    Drop X.org. X11 in fact has clean standard documentation just F all organisation so too many duplicates got accepted.

    http://www.x.org/archive/X11R7.6/doc/man/man7/Standards.7.xhtml
    Just because you can document a standard does not make it secure or working.

    X11 has proprietary implementations by the way example
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MKS_X/Server.
    X11 is in fact an Open Standard.

    PulseAudio also not without documentation. Interesting enough PulseAudio is looking at using kdbus/memfd transports instead of current SHM transport.

    For wine in current staging branch memfd is 10 times faster than SHM transport. Why kernel knows that messages are being sent to can wake up receiving process. Yes Linux kernel scheduler works way better using memfd instead of SHM. Please not memfd does exist in 3.16.x and before. This is Linux kernel issue lack of IPC.

  7. DrLoser who is never convinced of anything wrote, “What makes you think that the “European Parliament leans towards Free Software,” Robert?”

    Uh, reading TFA, “the European Parliament has imposed upon itself a further commitment to conduct its activities with the utmost transparency. Our study suggests that ensuring this “utmost transparency” is not only an essential procedural requirement but actually a fundamental democratic principle which brings precise duties.

    We conclude that the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament
    should whenever possible make Free Software and Open Standards
    mandatory for all systems and data used for the work of Parliament. In
    our view, that is the most appropriate way for the Parliament to meet its
    own standard of “utmost transparency”.”

    The Parliament has accepted openness as the norm. There is nothing more open than FLOSS.

    This is the response of the Director of IT for the parliament made to TFA:“Key issues for DG ITEC are interoperability and making information available in open formats, said Vilella. The Director General announced that when procuring ICT solutions, the IT department will require solutions to use open formats and be interoperable. “This has to be guaranteed by the companies submitting proposals.””

    How is a company submitting a proposal to use that other OS and non-FREE software going to guarantee openness and interoperability if the source code is hidden? How is that going to work if M$ phases out feature X or drops a product altogether?

  8. dougman says:

    Well to start there is a user group.

    https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/node/27955

    http://epfsug.eu/

    Then there is the open advocacy and elected officials that concur on the notion of “free software”

    http://www.linux-magazine.com/Online/Features/34-Free-Software-Advocates-Elected-to-European-Parliament

    ..which all signed the following:

    The Free Software Pact – Protecting and developing a common.

    The work of Free Software actors plays a role in the preservation of essential freedom in the digital era, the sharing of knowledge and the bridging of the “digital gap”. It is also an opportunity for the general public, for our technological independence and competitiveness, in my country and in Europe;

    Free Software is a “common”, to be protected and developed. Its existence relies upon the right for an author to release their software along with the source code, and to grant everyone the right to use, copy, adapt and redistribute it, in its original or in a modified form.

    I therefore undertake to:
    Encourage all administrations, all public or local services to prefer Free Software and open standards in their choices, purchases and own developments;

    Support active policies in favour of Free Software, and oppose any discrimination against it ;

    Stand up for Free Software authors’ and users’ rights, especially by requiring the modification of any legal text currently weakening those rights, and opposing any legal project that would lead to such consequences.

    So, I say that the idea of “open software” is well and alive and set to grow even more.

    One reason I says this is their IT department has banned the use of M$ Outlook email app due to security issues.

    https://blog.winkelmeyer.com/2015/01/warning-microsofts-outlook-app-for-ios-breaks-your-company-security/

  9. DrLoser says:

    The first trajectory is top-down … The second trajectory is lateral … The third trajectory is bottom-up …

    … and the fourth “trajectory” (what are these people thinking?) is straight into the Giant Brussels Circular Tin Filing System.

    The German Greens, whose request for a rapportage this idiot document fulfils, constitute a grand total of 13 out of 751 MEPs. In comparison, the European Conservatives and Reformists group, which is basically a rat-bag grouping of complete lunatics, constitutes a total of 72 MEPs.

    Go with the Big Guns, Robert. Ally yourself with the rat-bag grouping of complete lunatics. They, like you, secretly sympathise with Putin.

  10. DrLoser says:

    What makes you think that the “European Parliament leans towards Free Software,” Robert? You’re going to need a little more evidence than a drumming-up-work effort from Carlo Piana and Ulf Oberg, respectively Founder and Partner, Array and Founder and Managing Partner, Öberg & Associés.Neither of whom have the remotest influence on the EC. Not even in an extra-democratic way.

    It’s amazing how lawyers cluster around FLOSS like flies around a dung-heap, isn’t it?

    FLOSS lawyers don’t come cheap, unlike so many FLOSS consumers.

  11. kurkosdr says:

    because the use = because they use

  12. kurkosdr says:

    You know those people have no idea what they are talking about because the use “Free Software and Open Standards” as if it’s one thing or as if they are co-dependent.

    Hint:

    MPEG4 is an open-standard but has proprietary implementations.

    X.org and PulseAudio are Free Software but they do not have a clear standard (the documentation is laughable).

    —-

    Anyway, this is the good ol’ EU that wanted to fund Symbian OS, the OS of the future. But since Symbian OS was deep-sixed, they now want to fund some other OS, and GNU/Linux looks like an equally good idea.

    I am enraged that all those Brussels bureaucrats waste their time and the EU’s money on nonsense like this, when they could give all the money to Greece and waste just the EU’s money, not their time.

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