Friday, June 15, 2007

Dutch Open Source consultation (4)

In the parliamentary motion of Mr Vendrik of 2002, a fixed date for the enforcement of open source software and open standards is put down. That date has passed. In the consultation round the majority of respondents insisted on enforcing a date.

The participants of the consultation round are worried about the execution of the policy on OS and OSS. It is characterized as weak, not strong, insufficient, too soft and not structurally. There are worries about the ministries and their associated IT departments. The Netherlands takes a backwards position with regard to the introduction of OS and OSS in comparison to the surrounding countries. And the respondents are very unhappy as to the execution of the motion Vendrik since 2002. A date should be set in order to enforce OS and OSS, if needed coupled with sanctions. A fixed date is the only way to enforce result.

The lessons we have learned in the years since 2002 are clear. The Dutch government is not able to work with forceful measures. We should look at the Belgian Federal ICT government which has set some priorities like the introduction of ODF, says Wouter Tebbens of SELF.

The time has come that after all the talk actions are taken. Setting a date means that steps will have to be taken instead of offering empty promises. Where it is not possible to introduce open standards, an exception can be made. But this should not be an exception to the rule. Bjorn Wiers of the Open Media foundation.

Which open standards
Asked what the most important open standards are for the government to start with, a majority prefers to start with ODF, the standard for preserving and/or exchanging of text files, calculation sheets, graphs and presentations. No precise reasons re given, but it is a fact that the standard is already in use in the surrounding countries. Also the open mark-up languages like XML and HTML and the not entirely open PDF, standards for digital documents, are favoured. The comments of the respondents on this subject are inspired by the wish to accessibility in communication between government and citizen.

The government should conform itself or state in a clear definition what an open standard is. With this guide line one can establish the present and future standards or whether they are open enough. Listing open standards is a logical follow-up, says Bjorn Wijers – Open Media foundation.

Open standards should be the first ones to be introduced in the communication between government and the citizen. This means that correspondence and information provision should become available for everyone; in this way the citizens are not forced to pay obligatory licenses or other costs, says Alex van der Wolk.

Blog Posting Number: 784


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