Free software campaigners put pressure on Brussels

Free software campaigners have launched a scathing attack on the European Commission in response to Brussels spending €189 million on proprietary software.

Free software campaigners put pressure on Brussels

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) was angered that the EU ignored cost-saving free software when it awarded the massive SACHA II contract earlier this month to Dutch firm PC Ware.

“Instead of coming up with a strategy to take advantage of free software and become independent from vendors, the Commission is digging itself deeper into the vendor lock-in hole,” the foundation said. “The contract goes against the stated intentions of several Commission documents.”

The Commission is digging itself deeper into the vendor lock-in hole

When the EC’s Directorate-General for Informatics (DIGIT) responded to the criticisms, claiming that the foundation complaints were inaccurate, the FSFE posted the EU response and picked it to pieces.

“Unfortunately, the EC’s reply neither shows our stance to be wrong, nor does it allay our criticism,” the FSFE said. “DIGIT’s reply does not answer our criticism regarding the mismatch between the Commission’s own guidelines and recommendations and the massive acquisition of licenses for proprietary software.

“We would like to see the European Commission back up its public rhetoric regarding free software, open standards and interoperability with its own actions,” it said. “This would require DIGIT to rethink some procurement practices in order to open up public software procurement to competition.”

According to the foundation, its criticism applies to both the recent SACHA II contract, as well as the 2008 framework contract with Fujitsu-Siemens for the provision of Microsoft products.

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