NL Parliament makes open stan…

NL Parliament makes open standards mandatory

Published on: 12/10/2016

Law to be introduced in 2017

The use of open standards is to be made mandatory for public administrations in the Netherlands. A law proposed by MP Astrid Oosenbrug was adopted by the Lower House of the Parliament yesterday. According to the MP, the open standards requirement will be one of several changes to the country’s administrative law, introduced next year. “The minister earlier agreed to make open standards mandatory”, she said. “Parliament is making sure this actually happens.”

The first public administration that should improve its use of open standards, is the Parliament’s Lower House itself, Oosenbrug said. “Ironically, the Lower House published the adopted law on its website by providing a download link to a document in a proprietary format.”


Dutch lower house publishes law on open standards, provides a download link to a proprietary document format

When it needs to share documents in an electronically editable format, the lower house should do like the Upper House, and use the Open Document Format (ODT), a now 10 year old ISO standard, the MP said. “We should give the right example.”

Switching to open standards will increase interoperability and lower costs for citizens and companies, Oosenbrug said, while calling on public administrations to overcome their resistance to change.

The legislative proposal also instructs the government to actively promote the use of open source software. Oosenbrug wants the government to make this a task for the open government resource centre Leer- en Expertisepunt Open Overheid.

The MP expects the open standards requirement to be introduced in 2017, as part of the changes to administrative law needed for the Generic Digital Infrastructure.

Michiel Leenaars, director of the NLnet foundation - one of the main organisers of the ODF Plugfests - described the call for legislation as an “attractive and cost-effective way of breaking the impasse in government innovation”. “It makes the public sector responsible for the technology that it uses to interact with others”, he said.

More information:

Votes on Lower House motions(in Dutch)

Report on the discussion in the Lower House(in Dutch)


Thu, 13/10/2016 - 13:30

I tried to vote for a 5 (Awesome) but for some reason the vote did not take despite my being logged in properly.  NL is doing something very important here -- along with EU mandating Open Access by 2020 -- but I fear that the larger perspective is lacking.


First, praise for NL. Many do not know that NL is the single most advanced country in the world with respect to Internet feeds and speeds, aided in part by an honest government that controls the revenue from the energy resources of the country, rather than letting the banks steal everything as the USA and most other Western countries allow.  NL is particularly poised to achieve exascale real time processing sooner than anyone else including China because they have pushed so much of the functionality down into bigger faster pipes. Most current Internet providers are severely out of date with very bad routers. In Washington DC it would take three years to move 1T of data across town, and this is now the daily "feed" from one single area observation blimp. We are blessed here in the USA to have Gordon Cook, the foremost observer of the Internet (his newsletter is low cost and priceless, look at the Cook Report). The following superb reference, while dated, is still the best I know of with respect to why the NL is the tip of the pioneering spear on Internet matters. this free 184 page PDF was for me a very enlightening read: Building National Knowledge Infrastructure: How Dutch Pragmatism Nurtures a 21st Century Economy.


Second, my concern. I never set out to be the guide for Open Source Everything Engineering (OSEE), that happened by accident after I wrote The Open Source Everything Manifesto: Transparency, Truth, and Trust, and both The Guardian and IEEE noticed the book (two years after publication but I am happy it was noticed at all -- but the lag time is relevant to my concern below, in two parts.


Concern Part A: No government anywhere is being serious about Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), the fight I started against the spies in 1988 (privately until 1992, when I finally sponsored my first international conference) -- "do not send a spy where a schoolboy can go" is still relevant and still ignored. Governments are not making evidence-based decisions that fully implement holistic analytics, true cost economics, and OSEE opportunity costs -- OSEE costs one tenth to on quarter what existing methods cost and that is only a financial cost comparison -- when social and ecological costs are calculated, OSEE makes it clear our current combination of scientific reductionism and industrial era chlorine and carcinogenci based manufacturing is criminally insane and unsustainable to boot.  Water is for me a useful place for governments to begin -- national water independence (refilling the aquifers with desalinated water using solar energy, and rapidly exporting this almost free combination of OSEE to the poor countries) is the beginning of peace on earth. We need a European Open-Source Decision-Support Centre and Network.


Concern Part B: While the EU and NL are to be commended for focusing on open source as it relates to informaton technology, they are not doing this in a holistic manner (Open Access, Open Data, Open Government, OpenBTS, Open Cloud, Open Hardware, Open Software, Open Spectrum, Open Standards are all aspects of OSEE IT that must be developed together to create an Autonomous Internet) and worse, they are ignoring the much higher returns on investment that could be achieved by focusing on all the other opens, particularly Open Provisioning, a Category that includes Energy, Food, and Water; Open Health (we must bury most of Western medicine and especially vaccinations that are toxic and sterilize people in passing); and Open Manufacturing all merit co-equal attention from European ministers. Learn more at the Peer to Peer Foundation Wiki page, Category:Open Source Everything.


Time is the one strategic variable that cannot be bought or replaced. We are in my view poised to create a prosperous world at peace if we can put the Americans back in their box (closing all American bases overseas, ending all US drone assassination and surveillance operations world-wide, withdrawing the US from its elective wars everywhere) and FOCUS on the combination of holistic analytics, true cost economics, and OSEE. Europe in combination with Byzantine Europe (Russia, Turkey, Iran) and China (which is about to destroy Deutchbank and US banks by destroying the derivatives marketplace) can within ten years eliminate all illgeal refugees, all dictators, all terrorism that we ourselves inspire. I believe that NL missed a great opportunity in last go-around as leader in Europe because it was not thinking broadly enough and did not have the sense of urgency that I and a few others have. The EU has the potential to become a newly relevant and powerful stabilizing force if it quickly establishes a grasp of Open Source Everything -- not just access today, standards tomorrow.

Fri, 21/10/2016 - 19:26

Robert, great points made here. But while I respect your views and passion for inclusivity of the sub-areas of "open", I believe that a realistic analysis of the inititiatives, studies, grants, projects of each office and nation in the realm of open and evidence-based policy and research would reveal the progress that you fervently desire.


It is also important to understand the careful and critical steps that must be taken by government undergoing digital transformation. The whole of the government digital transformation to open through technology is a process. And technology has always precluded legislation. And I believe the EU and NL are leaders in embracing that understanding. Take the XBRL standards for instance. Everyone plays their part.


All of the aspects of OSEE must embrace and uphold the principles of opensource. It is hard to understand this balance if you have not first-hand been a contributor of real open-source projects and commuities. I would advise taking a look at the hundreds of opensource projects which cover each OSEE aspect you mentioned. With this consciousness, you will see within the discussions, contributions, code development that projects are actively moving forward with in harmony with government initiatives. 


Standards development and transformation is taking place. Maybe not in the way that one person would like it to but that is the beauty of consensus of evolution of all. Are you aware of the what blockchain is and how this technology plays the biggest role in OSEE and "Open Everything"? The Open Standards are developing consecutively across all domains; public, private and community.