Government to increase open source in key IT projects

OSORThe Dutch government wants to increase the use of open standards and source in some of its key IT projects, minister for Foreign Trade Frank Heemkskerk said yesterday. “There is not enough progress in the uptake of this type of software”, said Heemskerk. “We need more perseverance. Using this type of software should be a social objective of public administrations.”

Heemskerk announced he would approach the other ministers in the cabinet to urge them to adopt open standards and open source applications. “I will chase my colleagues responsible for health care, for social security and for education.”

He also wants software suppliers to adapt to using open standards. “No matter the business models of these vendors, they need to be more involved in this.”

Heemskerk did not want to specify which key IT projects he aims to select to boost the government’s use of open source software. Several Dutch ministries are preparing a new desktop that is planned to be used for running up to 21,000 PCs. This project is being criticised by open source advocacy groups and activists, that say the current IT set-up will force these desktops to run a proprietary operating system, proprietary mail servers and clients as well as proprietary office applications. The minister for Foreign Trade avoided answering the question if this was one of the projects he had in mind: “But indeed, it is a key IT project.”

Heemskerk also said he would write the new European commissioner for ICT and Telecom, to explain the Dutch policy on open standards and open source.

The minister’s announcements were made during the presentation by the Dutch resource centre on open standards and open source, NOiV, of its annual progress monitor. In 2009 all public administrations have begun increasing their use of these types of software, says NOiV. On the desktop, for instance, open source is used by 70 percent of the ministries and 26 percent of all municipalities.

The use of the open document format ODF is now supported by all ministries and 59 percent of the municipalities, said NOiV’s analist Jaap Korpel.

Article was originally published at the Open Source Observatory & Repository Europe

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