Greek public administrations in practice use almost no open source, in spite of a law approved by the Greek parliament in 2011 that promotes the development of open source. European funded initiatives like Open-Source for European Public Administrations (Osepa) could change that, those involved say.
In 2011 the Greek parliament accepted an e-governance law that obligates public administrations to only develop software of which the code is open and can be modified and distributed freely.
"I don't believe that most public administrations are aware of Law 3979/2011", says advisor Dimitris Papadopoulos of DigitalisConsult, a company specialising in it strategy consulting services for the public sector.
Open source advocate Nikos Roussos, who participates on behalf of the Central Union of Municipalities of Greece (KEDE) within Osepa, adds: "Besides that administrations can easily escape from complying, by documenting reasons why it's hard to migrate."
Chairman Theodoros Karounos of the Greek Free and Open Source Software Society (Gfoss) agrees that there are still substantial barriers to overcome, mainly the lack of awareness regarding free and open source software applications and the need to ensure interoperability between proprietary and open source products.
According to Dimitris Andreadis, working for open source firm Red Hat, the adoption of open source software depends on customers knowing how to create a long term plan. "When it comes to the Greek public sector, I don't think we are at that point, yet. For instance: a government agency recently asked me whether they could safely switch from a proprietary application server to Jboss, without wanting to spend a single euro in training and support services."
European funded initiatives
"The use of open source software in the public administration sector is almost zero", concludes Osepa's project manager, Thalia Pattakou on behalf of the Central Union of Municipalities of Greece (KEDE). Exceptions are universities and research institutions, as the availability of the source code and generally the technique of its development make it highly popular. According to directives given by the Ministry of Education, school PCs should run using GNU/Linux. "However, the large majority of schools did not implement this directive."
Karounos however stays positive: "We expect to see more in the coming years as a number of EU and Greece co-funded projects are expected to run on open source software." Papadopoulos adds: "Projects like Osepa, that particularly address public sector problems could make a difference in raising awareness and debate, as long as their outputs are channelled to real-life settings as experienced by public administration managers and extended through follow-up initiatives."