The European Parliament's IT department is testing the use of GNU/Linux distribution Ubuntu, OpenOffice, Firefox and other Open Source applications, the British MEP James Nicholson explained last week in a letter to Italian MEP Marco Cappato.
According to Nicholson the tests show this Open Source configuration meets the Parliament's office requirements. It does not mean that Ubuntu will immediate replace the currently used system, he added. "This depends on long-term developments and needs and functional requirements of the Parliament. The stability of our IT systems is crucial."
Nicholson writes the IT department is considering a change in approach of the IT services. The move to a so-called service-oriented architecture could provide an opportunity to move to Open Source.
However, a swift switch is not possible, he warns. This would raise serious problems in terms of support and guarantees for the IT infrastructure. A migration to Open Source software should be based on a cautious process, without interrupting the IT services. "The Parliament will continue to monitor Open Source developments and if possible will try to use this type of software."
With the letter, Nicholson replies to questions raised by Cappato in March. The Italian MEP wants the European Commission to consider moving to Open Source technology. This would be a positive signal for Open Source as well as way to cut costs.
The European Commission has punished Microsoft with two fines totalling 1.68 billion euro for abuse of a dominant position, Cappato notes. Yet all the European institutions use mostly Microsoft products. "This makes the institutions dependent on a single supplier in a dominant position, with ensuing problems, such as the accessibility of documents produced in proprietary formats and of interoperability."
© European Communities 2008
|Click here to download: James Nicholson's letter|