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FSFE Newsletter - June 2017

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New European Interoperability Framework urges public administrations to use and contribute to Free Software

After a round of public consultation last year, the 'new' European Interoperability Framework (EIF) was finally published in March 2017. In alignment with our answers to the public consultation, and with the general responses from citizens and businesses that demanded more Free Software within public e-services, the revised EIF includes a recommendation to public administrations across Europe to ensure a level playing field for Free Software and demonstrate active and fair consideration of using Free Software when offering e-services.

In addition, the new EIF urges public administrations to not only use Free Software but "whenever possible contribute to the pertinent developer communities". This is a significant improvement in comparison to the previous EIF v.2, and explicit acknowledgement of Free Software being essential for ensuring better interoperablity. The down side is that similar to the communication on "ICT Standardisation Priorities for the Digital Single Market", the new EIF unfortunately does not sufficiently address the obstacles that so-called "fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory" (FRAND) licensing terms create for Free Software. By basing its licensing policy of Open Standards on FRAND, the EIF unfortunately does not allow Free Software projects to participate in offering their services to public administrations.

For more background on this topic read our article "Why is FRAND bad for Free Software?"


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Your editors,
Erik Albers and Polina Malaja