European Commission

The European Commission's Neelie Kroes believes in open

Neelie Kroes, VP of the European Commission (EC)

Neelie Kroes, VP of the European Commission (EC), has a website called Comment Neelie to initiate and maintain a two-way conversation between herself, as a politician, and the public, as citizens. Kroes says that it's "a channel to communicate, not just broadcast." » Read more


Who could not be against lock-in for government ICT systems?

open source government ICT systems

The European Commission (EC) recently published an important report, officially a Communication: Against lock-in: building open ICT systems using standardsThe Communication introduces and explains the need for the accompanying: Guide for procurement of standards-based ICT—Elements of Good Practice, which was released at the same time.

The documents, announced in a press release on June 25, are designed to educate public administrations and encourage their use of standards-based ICT procurement, which, in the words of the communication, "will enable more interoperability, innovation and competition, lower costs (by more than 1 billion Euros per year), and improve interaction with citizens." The Commission’s activities are an effort to fulfill a key part (Action 23) of the Digital Agenda, the EC’s long-term planning strategy designed "to help digital technologies, including the internet, to deliver sustainable economic growth..."

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European Commission digital agenda and cloud strategy

eu flag

The European Commission (EC), the central governing body of the EU, has in the past several years pursued ICT policies that increasingly have been good for "openness" in the areas of standards, data, and software. Its recent announcements on cloud computing have continued this theme.

However, as with any broad strategy of this magnitude, there are parts of the strategy (many well-meaning) that could lead to trouble. Attention, engagement, and follow-up with the Commission are needed to assure a positive outcome.

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Why some governments are struggling with open source implementation

Tug of war

Observing the open source public policy landscape over the past several months, one couldn’t be blamed for feeling optimistic. Government after government, it seemed, was stepping up and laying the ground work for public-sector adoption and private-sector growth of open standards and open source software (see articles on France, the UK, Portugal, and the US). Even the Vice President of the European Commission, Neelie Kroes, gave a full-throated endorsement of open source in late December.

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Innovation and collaboration stifled in red tape

Innovation and collaboration stifled in red tape

It is hard to think of any environment as conducive to innovation as the Internet. With a good idea and the motivation to follow it through, anything is possible. Look at Wikipedia, the Google search engine, and Facebook, to name just a few success stories.

Behind them are thousands of less famous web-based innovations that are also having a huge impact on society. These include many thousands of small firms and individual web developers based in Europe.

Collaboration is vital. Technologies do not emerge out of the blue. They are built on innovations by others – building-block technologies that are offered up as industry standards. » Read more


Open standards and the royalty problem

In December, the long awaited version 2.0 of the European Interoperability Framework (EIF) was released by the European Commission. Version 1.0 had defined “open standard” as royalty-free, a definition of enormous impact on standards policy because it focused on the user perspective rather than the perspective of standards development organizations. Some standards organizations claim that “open standards” refers only to the way the standard was developed – not the terms of availability. » Read more


European Commission stands against vendor lock-in

Lock on a building

After a decade-long battle, terms of a settlement agreement were finally reached last week between the European Commission and Microsoft regarding anticompetitiveness. The official settlement is a win for European consumers, but the simultaneous Public Undertaking on Interoperability issued by the company leaves much to be desired for the open source community. » Read more