Govt must stop breaking procurement rules and move to open source

The Portuguese Association for Free Software (Ansol) is urging the government to stop buying proprietary software licences without a public tender, and to switch to free and open source software.

The advocacy group uncovered that five public administrations in 2009 spent more than 120 million Euro in total on proprietary software licences for operating systems and office applications, without properly following procurement rules. “It is illegal, and in these times of crises, such volumes are unjustifiable.”

In its statement, Ansol protests the proprietary licence contracts signed by the Portuguese Directorate-General for Infrastructure and Equipment, the Regional Bureau for Science, Technology and Equipment, Portugal Post, the municipality of Oeiras and Portuguese schools with proprietary software manufacturers and IT service providers.

Most of the involved proprietary applications can easily be avoided by switching to free and open source alternatives, explains Rui Seabra, chairman of Ansol, in the statement: “With a looming threat of the IMF intervening in Portugal’s finances, is spending such amounts even legal?”

Ansol calls on all public administrations in Portugal to reduce to zero their budget for software licences and to spend the money its saves on switching to free and open source.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance and Public Administration did not respond to repeated requests for comments, by phone and by email. source

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