13 March 2008

EU "Will Prefer Open Source Software"

This seems a rather low-key announcement of a suprisingly strong policy:

In a document published last week, the EC states among others that the Commission will prefer Open Source software for its new IT projects: "For all new development, where deployment and usage is foreseen by parties outside of the Commission Infrastructure, Open Source Software will be the preferred development and deployment platform."

According to the document, the EC is an early adopter of Open Source. A first strategy document on this type of software was presented in 2000. However, it is for the first time the European Commission publishes such a document. Valerie Rampie, spokesperson or Siim Kallas, the European commissioner who is responsible for administrative affairs, said the publication of the strategy is "mainly for information purposes".

The EC writes that its IT community early last year had adopted its Open Source strategy after "a thorough consultation within the community". Next from stating its preference for Open Source for new projects. the EC decided that "for all future IT developments and procurement procedures, the Commission shall promote the use of products that support open, well-documented standards. Interoperability is a critical issue for the Commission, and usage of well-established open standards is a key factor to achieve and endorse it.

Slightly curious that it moves anti-climactically from open source to open standards, with the dreaded "interoperability" - Microsoft's favouriate weasel-word - slithering in. I hope that there isn't anything Machiavellian happening in the EU shadows here.... (Via Simon Phipps.)

Update: And the US Navy, too.

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