The European institutions should switch to using the Open Document Format ODF as their internal default document format, says Member of the European Parliament Indrek Tarand. Speaking at a meeting of the European Parliament's Free Software User Group (Epfsug), last week Wednesday, MEP Tarand said: "Moving to ODF would allow real innovation, and real procurement."
"The day the EU authorities decide to switch to using the ODF standard, our work is done", the MEP, founder of Epfsug, said.
The European Parliament should also be able to use its own free software distribution", Tarand said, explaining that the EP's demands for openness should become more visible also when selecting IT solutions. "We've been asking this for the past five years, we're still alive and we're still knocking at the door."
Tarand is a member of The Greens–European Free Alliance. The parliamentary group in December announced it is testing the use of ten laptop computers running Debian Parl, a tailored version of the Debian GNU/Linux distribution, available on the Internet. Jonas Smedegaard, a Danish IT consultant and one of the volunteers at Debian Parl on Wednesday explained how the pilot is carried out in close cooperation with the IT department of the European Parliament, DG ITEC. "This is to make sure there are no surprises, neither for us nor for them. We are not undermining them, and they are not blocking us."
According to Smedegaard, DG ITEC is very interested in the project, which is testing full disk encryption and the use of cryptographic software tools provided by GnuPG and the use of email client Icedove (a version of Mozilla Thunderbird).
Debian Parl is not exclusively for members of the Greens–European Free Alliance. Other MEPs are invited to try it out as well.
"The EP should be forerunners of the use of secure email solutions", commented MEP Nils Torvalds, a member of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, and a patron of Epfsug. He noted that the EC has earmarked 85 million euro for projects to improve online security. Hinting what he expected these solution should be based on, he said: "The organisation most focused on IT security in the USA, National Security Agency, uses Linux."