The 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 Karsten Gerloff, President of the Free Software Foundation Europe.
FSFE welcomes the Commision's plans to give standards a greater role in the public procurement of software, and to get dominant software vendors to license 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 the Member States have 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 is currently being systematically hollowed out, as FSFE's analysis shows.
"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."
President, Free Software Foundation Europe
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