Friday, June 22, 2007

Dutch Open Source consultation (11)

Policy in the ICT field due to the historical lack of attention for open standards and open source is complex as it has built up chain decencies and the so called lock-in effect. A change needs agreements and a simultaneous approach in several policy areas at the same time, and strategic choices in order to set the process in motion.
The five most mentioned priorities:
- a clear choice of specific open standards and open source, where possible. So that software producers can start working on it. New to develop or to purchase software should conform to open standards. Use of non-standards should be frozen, and no new closed formats should be allowed. Multi-platform should be worked on and enforced;
- The inventory, development and stimulation of factual migration strategies and open-source applications and platforms within the government should be enforced;
- Raise the expertise level in the central and decentral ICT services; presently there is a knowledge lack in the execution level;
- An injection is needed in education to start with the secondary and college levels;
- Cooperation projects between municipalities and other government departments will profit from financial incentives in the form of extra grants, while on the other hand sanctions should be applied if government services do not comply with reasonable requirements as to interoperability and access;

The fact that these matters are intertwined is clear from many reactions and shows that various government departments have their own priorities.

An example:
Education is an absolute priority for the mid term and long term. If that is not tackled OS/OSS will always remain in a set-back position compared to closed commercial solutions. When new software is solicited or existing licenses should be renewed, a transfer should be made to OS/OSS. If there are open standards for a particular purpose, this software enjoys preference. For custom made software the slogan is: standards first, according to Gait Boxman of TIE.

Complexity is no reason to do nothing. My slogan is to pick up easiest things first as this will stimulate a further usage, according to Hans Janssen, alderman Economic Affairs for the political party CDA in Tilburg.

In order to realise a proper approach of the mentioned priorities there are often references to countries abroad, amongst others to Germany and the European IDABC. Several respondents suggest to appoint a separate ministry of ICT or information provision as a coordinator as there is a lack of expertise in the present structures. This is most likely not possible anymore in the present cabinet, but certainly should be an issue for the next government, if still relevant.

Blog Posting Number: 791


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