In an open letter to the European Parliament and the European Commission, Free Software Foundation Europe and Open Forum Europe are asking the European institutions to improve their support for Open Standards. The letter is directed to Giancarlo Vilella, the president of the European Parliament's DG ITEC and chair of the Inter-Institutional Committee for Informatics.
In a recent letter to MEP Amelia Andersdotter, the EC acknowledges that is is in a state of "effective captivity" to Microsoft. As FSFE has pointed out repeatedly, this is a persistent problem for the Commission, the Council and the Parliament.
"Recognising a problem is always the first step towards solving it. We appreciate the Commission's newfound frankness on the subject," says FSFE's president Karsten Gerloff. "Along with Europe's citizens and the continent's software industry, we now expect the Commission to take action and free itself from this captivity."
The letter also raises the issue of video formats. Currently, it is difficult or impossible for Free Software users to follow the proceedings of the Parliament and the Council in real time, because the live video streams of these organisations rely on proprietary technology. This is a problem which OFE and FSFE have highlighted for many years.
"This would be a comparatively simple measure for the European institutions to improve the transparency of their work for ordinary citizens," says Gerloff. "We fail to understand why there has not been more progress on this issue over the past six years."