Thursday, June 14, 2007

Dutch Open Source consultation (3)

Yesterday (with a beer and a cottage pie), I posted the summary of the Dutch OS/OSS consultation round. It presents in a helicopter view the reactions which have been sent in for collection in the consultation documents. In the next days I will translate the reactions on several subjects. The first extended reaction is on the policy making of the Dutch government over the past years.

The Open Standards and Open Source Software (OS/OSS) has been a Dutch government policy issue in the past. Not that the government put much effort in it. In November 2002 the Dutch politician Mr Vendrik called upon the government to get serious and support OS/OSS policies. Since that motion, little has happened; the government just executed the policy in a lacklustre way. It is no surprise that there is some government bashing over execution of the OS/OSS policy in the last four years.

Michiel Klijmi, a alderman in Gouda says: It works only with small steps and the government misses grip on its own ITC in order to implement OS/OSS. Execution remains fragmented and small scale, so that big projects remain based on closed standard software.

Robbie Blom of ObesiX is stronger in his reaction: There is not enough support from ministers and IT departments; there is no clear courage to put out directives.

The managing director of R&D Astron, Dr Marco de Vos, says: There is no structural policy and there is not enough understanding with policymakers in order to develop an effective policy of stimulation. Policymakers do not realize enough that steps have to be taken pro-actively towards government services and that it is not enough to speak nice words on a central level.

The setting up of the OSOSS programme by the government is seen as a positive point. The programme has familiarized people with Open Standards and Open Source Software among government services. The influence is modestly felt. Government are getting familiar with OS/OSS and they are more prepared to work with it. says Mr C.A.M. Segers of Avans College.

This project OSOSS has delivered good work with the production of definitions, producing listings of standards. Also information sessions have contributed to the understanding of Open Standards and Open Source Software, says Hans Sleurink, the editor and publishers of the Dutch Open Source Year Book, published by Media Update.

This mixture of rather harsh and mild comments by the participants of the consultation round echoes the complaint that the mandate of OSOSS was too limited and that the programme was seriously handicapped by a low budget and limited manpower.

Blog Posting Number 783


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