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Leaked EIF draft critisiced by advocacy groups

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European open source advocacy groups are disconcerted by the second draft of the European Interoperability Framework (EIF). At least one European member state has hinted its unease with the new version.

IDABC, a project at the European Commission's Directorate - General for Informatics, is holding a workshop on the European Interoperability Strategy this week Tuesday.

At least four advocacy groups have published strong statements objecting to the latest draft of the EIF documents, that were leaked earlier this month. The Free Software Foundation Europe for instance says the EC has "caved in to proprietary lobbyists".

The group compared the EIF draft with other documents, for instance position papers submitted to the EC by the Business Software Alliance (BSA). In a statement published last Friday, the FSFE said: "Our analysis shows that the views of the BSA lobby group have influenced the present draft. At the same time, the European Commission has ignored comments by companies, groups and individuals in favour of open standards and free software."

April, a French free software organisation, today also strongly protested the EIF draft. "We are not surprised that proprietary software vendors, known for their unfair business practices, have been lobbying to rid the EIF of its meaning", said Benoît Sibaud, the group's president, in a statement. "It is pathetic that European institutions are bending to the will of these companies,  which undermines the future of e-government."

The Groupe Thématique Logiciel Libre, a group representing French open source companies and scientists in the Paris metropolitan area, last week published an open letter, expressing their worries.

The group is "deeply shocked" by new EIF draft "This redefines interoperability, open standards and open source in such a way that any closed source software using proprietary, undisclosed standards, may pass the test, thus making the very terms Interoperability and openness insignificant."


The open source advocacy group Open Forum Europe was among the first to protest the revision of the EIF. "The draft has been roundly condemned for its only passive acknowledgement of open standards and seemingly endorsement of lock-in to the proprietary solutions."

The second draft of the EIF document was discussed in a meeting between the European Commission and representatives of the EU Member States on 12 November in Brussels. "This revision is an enormous step back from the first version", says a spokesperson of the Dutch ministry of Economic Affairs. "We informally said we were unhappy with it. The government will respond officially once the document is ready."

According to comments from the German ministry of the Interior, most member states at the meeting considered the document a good starting point, "but there are some points that have to be discussed again, including the definition of interoperability and open source."

More information:

Open Forum Europe statement (pdf)

Statement by Groupe Thématique Logiciel Libre (pdf)

Statement by April (in French)

Statement by FSFE

FSFE's comparison of the EIF drafts

Revision of the EIF and AG website at IDABC

Earlier OSOR news item

Statement by FWIOO (in Polish)

Statement by OW2