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'Report on European Parliament's free software use is coming'

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A report on the use of free software and open standards by the European Parliament is being written, says Alexander Alvaro, Vice-President of the European Parliament. "The first steps were made and preliminary information was presented to some of the Members of the EP." The report was requested last year, in an amendment to the discharge of the EP's 2010 budget.

The paper is to be written by the EP's IT department. The parliamentarians are asking it to update them on the free software applications used in the European Parliament. They also suggest that IT department investigates the Parliaments' obligation to use free software and open standards.

The topic is one of the items on the agenda of the 'Bureau of the European Parliament', said Vice-President Alvaro (Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) in an interview. The Bureau is responsible for the EP's organisation and administration. "We were supposed to hear more about it earlier this week, but this meeting was postponed."

Alvaro could not say when the report would be available.

Conferences
It is likely that the overview will be presented at a EP workshop, 'Legal Aspects of Free and Open Source Software' that is being organised by the EP's Policy Department C and is to take place on 9 July. The workshop, initiated by MEP Eva Lichtenberger (Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance), coincides with the Libre Software Meeting (LSM, also known as the Rencontres Mondiales du Logiciel Libre or RMLL), one of Europe's bigger open source gatherings. The LSM is taking place in Brussels from 6 to 11 July.

EP Vice-President Alvaro remarked that the parliament's IT Department is also working on the release as free software of At4am. This is the EP's software for authoring and management of amendments on parliamentary texts. The source code is scheduled to be made available early this summer. "That would be great, because we've been writing our own software, eDemocracy, to help us get around some issues we have with At4am and we would gladly switch to the open source-version."

More information:
European Parliament's 2010 budget discharge
Tentative agenda for the EP workshop on 'Legal Aspects of Free and Open Source Software' (pdf)
RMLL 2013 conference site