FSFE gives cautious welcome to Commission’s new free software strategy
The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) has given a cautious welcome to the EU Commission’s new version of its strategy for the internal use of free and open source software covering the period 2014-2017 (news passim). FSFE has provided extensive input to the Commission during the update process.
While the new strategy is broadly similar to its predecessor, there are a number of marked improvements:
- A more determined attitude to free and open source software. This is a minimum requirement for the strategy to have at least some impact in an environment where proprietary software is deeply entrenched. The new strategy talks about creating “a level playing field” for free and open source software, and giving it “active and fair consideration“.
- An approach to open standards that goes beyond the watered-down revision of the European Interoperability Framework: “the Commission shall promote the use of products that support recognised, well-documented and preferably open technical specifications that can be freely adopted, implemented and extended“.
- A commitment to make it easier for Commission developers to take in external free and open source software communities.
“This document is essentially a statement of intent by the Commission,” says FSFE president Karsten Gerloff. “There are many actions the Commission could take to make use of the advantages offered by free software and open standards – procurement practices come to mind. That said, the new strategy represents a change for the better, and we are happy to see the Commission moving in the right direction.”