European groups advocating public administration's use of free and open source software and open standards are welcoming the 'Guide for the procurement of standards-based ICT', published by the European Commission this week Tuesday.
Open Forum Europe, said it 'strongly supports' the EC's communication and staff working paper. "These important documents stress how necessary it is to avoid lock-in in IC systems and they promote the use of global ICT standards in public procurement." The group also welcomes the assurance that the European Commission will apply the Guide to its own procurement practises. OFE hopes other European Institutions to do likewise.
The Free Software Foundation Europe says it is "looking forward to seeing the European Commission lead the way, and open its own desktop systems to competition from different suppliers. The group added that when public administrations use open standards in their IT systems, taxpayers' money is spent more efficiently, and on more innovative solutions.
The French free software advocacy group April called the documents 'a promising step'. "We hope the Commission will use it to build a real policy on open standards, free software and on innovation." The group noted that: "truly open standards alone ensure interoperability and help create a level playing-field in public procurement practices."
Ansol, Portugal's Association for the promotion of Free Software, welcomed the cautious progress made by the EC. "Public administrations need to understand that open standards are to their benefit."
In the policy documents, the EC explains that because of IT vendor lock-in, some 1.1 billion euro is lost unnecessarily. The EC Guide is meant to help procurers, IT managers, strategists and architects decide which standards are relevant and useful.
Communication: Against lock-in: building open ICT systems by making better use of standards in public
Guide: Guide for the procurement of standards-based ICT — Elements of Good Practice
FSFE press release
Open Forum Europe press release (pdf)
Ansol press release