dinsdag 11 september 2012

Now politics must focus on results with open source software

Chances to save millions, but with talking alone you won't get that far
My previous two blogs pointed out that when public administrations make a combined investment in open source software, migrating will become easier, that they themselves profit as well as all other (government) users will do. Governments from Germany and Switzerland already do so.
In The Netherlands municipalities can save millions of Euro's each year, with open source office software alone.
Now tomorrow, September 12, we have national elections in the Netherlands. In relation to that the topic open source has, as far as I've noticed, been touched by the parties GroenLinks and SP. Besides that, also the party PvdA mentions it and of course it's important for the Piratenpartij. [1]
The past has shown that for the most parties open source software (and open standards) are important. But how useful is 'attention'? It would be really helpful if the new Tweede Kamer (parliament) would come to agreement rapidly for a strong approach, specific, for e.g. the open source desktop. That would be a strong follow-up for the talk- and information-programs that we had in the last decade, that, lets be honest, just were to weak to help creating a clear turn around. Just explaining will not easily create enough power to counterweight multinationals, that also have close connections to large national companies..
A clear and strong approach – public bodies from Germany and Switzerland make a good example – will help the existing situation to change a bit faster, to make more advantage of the benefits of open source. Also it will prepare the path for those municipalities and provinces that have a less progressive attitude. We do have those too in The Netherlands, as is shown in a recent example about governments that bind themselves too easy in expensive contracts. This while the costs for ICT in municipalities rise.
In the previous article I counted that in Dutch municipalities alone millions can be saved each year with open source office software. Which as bonus will free you from cumbersome relations with vendors that tend to change license contracts (read costs) in their own favor. Also expenses for changes and improvements to the software, will result in work in the region, which is quite different from sending checks to a large company in a distant country.
Cooperation, bundling of forces, great software, paying what is needed and nothing more, freedom of choice – that is open source!

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