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Lack of Open Standards “gaping hole” in EC’s Digital Agenda

FSFE logoThe European Commission has officially published its long-awaited Digital Agenda, outlining its policy plans for the next five years. “While it includes some important building blocks for Free Software, the omission of Open Standards rips a gaping hole in this agenda,” says Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) President Karsten Gerloff.

The FSFE welcomes the Commission’s plans to give standards a greater role in the public procurement of software and to get dominant software vendors (I think the FSFE really means that virus testing platform masquerading as an operating system. Ed.) to licence their interoperability information, opening up the software market for Free Software vendors.

However, the Digital Agenda falls short of systematically promoting Free Software and Open Standards, missing the goals that EU Member States set for the Commission in the Granada and Malmö declarations. The Digital Agenda itself avoids any reference to Open Standards. Instead, the Commission points to the European Interoperability Framework. This is a document which FSFE’s analysis shows is currently being systematically hollowed out.

“The EC needs to adopt a strict definition of Open Standards, along the lines of the first European Interoperability Framework,” says Gerloff. He continues: “The Commission needs to put Open Standards at the heart of its strategy for the public sector’s IT systems. Only with the competition that Open Standards enable will we tap the full potential of Free Software for European innovation.” (Too right mate! Ed.)