European Interoperability Framework guidelines are about to come up from The European Commission- EC. The documents consists of the instructions are guidance to the member countries- 27 in number- to buy the best available software so that they the systems of the government can be updated and expanded.
In The News
New York Times told that this document from EC requires a serious update and technology shift for a lot of governments. At the moment, Microsoft is the dominant in the software industry. It is trying to lobby against the rivalries of open source as it is a serious threat to its market share. The big daddies like Google, Oracle, Red Hat and IBM are pouring in with the recommendations of open source systems.
Currently, Microsoft is not the only threatened firm in this case. The other companies like Ericsson and Alcatel- Lucent also are threatened of losing their market share. These two companies are providing communication software to the governments.
The suggestions of open source systems are much positive as it would provide a greater interoperability in software system of Europe.
Problem with Open Source
For the success of business it is very difficult to change and adopt a new system if you are already set up with a certain proprietary system. The problem that rises is of backward compatibility as communication with others customers and businesses is a must. Although the Microsoft solutions are quite expensive, still we find many organizations using it. The reason behind this is the “user friendly” tag of Microsoft. The updates provided by Microsoft, from time to time, for its OS and office suit are very expensive is now 2 years old and we also have Windows 7.
Why Open Source
The reason for the suggestion of the open source is the right and effective use of the public money. Government’s money is highly needed for many other purposes than this, so the open source systems definitely fit in with this clause as they are easy to buy because of the low initial payment and free updates.
From the Officials
Maros Sefcovic is the European commissioner who deals with the inter-institutional administration and affairs. He declared that the mission of this document is to promote such environment that would help the administration to communicate at a very low cost within the European Union. This is the basis of interoperability. He did not give any views on the points in the document that address the issue of choosing between proprietary software and the open source systems.
The contents of the document are still a mystery. The reports from the people with a little knowledge how about the document said that it is only providing suggestion for the update and expansion and leaving the decision of buying on every government as per their facility.
Till the time we have the final document as hand there would a strong war between all the lobbies of proprietary systems and the open source systems. With this, the public money of millions of dollars is at stakes. What is yet to be discovered is who would prove the powerful lobby out of all.