Portugal – mandatory open standards for the public sector soon?
OSOR informs us that open source moves are afoot in Portugal.
Two of Portugal’s left-wing political parties want to make the use of open standards mandatory for the country’s public sector. On Friday, 10th December the Portuguese parliament will discuss two motions, filed by the Left Bloc, with sixteen of the 230 seats in the parliament, and the Portuguese Communist Party, which has thirteen seats.
Looking at the Left Bloc’s motion, the motives for advocating the use of open source are quite simple. Citizens increasingly interact with the public sector via the internet. That is why governments most use open formats instead of proprietary alternatives, “otherwise, only those who can pay for the use of the proprietary format can have access to the information“. If adopted by the parliament, the Left Bloc motion will create an obligation for the use of open standards in public administrative IT systems.
The Communist Party’s motion wants to make it mandatory to use open standards in all governmental digital documents. The party wants the public sector to use open formats for all electronic files, including audiovisual material, geographic information, email and websites.
“This is the most important IT debate ever in our parliament”, commented a spokesman for ESOP, Portugal’s association for open source IT service providers.