[FSFE PR][EN] Certified Open: Welcome to life after ICT lock-in

press at fsfeurope.org press at fsfeurope.org
Fri Nov 9 15:37:59 CET 2007

[for immediate release]

Welcome to life after ICT lock-in

Certified Open trial period launched

Today sees the launch of the trial period for Certified Open, a
programme to evaluate the technical and commercial lock-in of ICT
solutions.  Certified Open promotes fair and effective competition in
the delivery of software, hardware and services.

Certified Open is a joint venture between OpenForum Europe (OFE) and
Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE).  The programme originated in UK
local government and European Commission eTen projects and was further
developed with industry, community and user engagement.

The certification process is simple and fast.  It is based on
self-assessment and uses an on-line application process.  The programme
tests technical and commercial aspects of interoperability and awards
Gold, Silver or Bronze certificates to successful applicants.
Accreditations and answers to certification questions are listed on-line
for public review to ensure fairness.  There is a neutral appeal process
to resolve irregularities and a governance council to oversee
development and forward planning.

Graham Taylor, Director of OpenForum Europe said: "Certified Open
represents a complete solution for public and private sector users to
check the openness of their ICT solutions. We frequently see examples
where organisations have become locked-in to a system due to the costs
involved in change. Analysis carried out by OFE has indicated that 90%
of public sector organisations no longer have the freedom to choose ICT
solutions on the basis of competitiveness, functionality or price
because of lock-in."

Certified Open is designed to ensure freedom from lock-in and openness
to fair competition. The framework assesses dependence on proprietary or
undocumented protocols, dependence on undocumented or proprietary data
formats, licensing terms that preclude the use of alternative products,
extensions to standards to ensure good performance and the use of
pseudo-standards dependent on patents or other restrictions that prevent
compatible competing implementations."

Georg Greve, President of the Free Software Foundation Europe stated:
"Vendor lock-in has become the primary problem for IT decisions in
general and Free Software adoption in particular. It distorts the market
and denies Free Software solutions equal competition on the merits. The
problem has been that many lock-ins are invisible, for example reliance
on proprietary protocols or needing to use certain document
formats. Certified Open makes that lock-in visible and allows users to
measure their dependency. Suppliers can highlight clearly when their
products are interoperable, and we hope that Certified Open will provide
an incentive to ensure that they are. Our goal is to give back freedom
of choice to all users."


For more information please contact Graham Taylor on + 44 771 359 3217
or Jennifer Webber + 44 7908 643 983.

 1. Graham Taylor is speaking at the Open Source Summit, hosted by
    Olswang and Greenberg Traurig and held at the Queen Elizabeth II
    Centre today at 1630. Graham will be available for comment via
    Jennifer Webber on +44 7908 643 093.

 2. Certified Open is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee in
    the UK. There is no equity or profit to distribute and any surpluses
    generated will be returned to the development of Certified Open. It
    is intended that this is the first step towards the establishment of
    a Foundation. The Board of Certified Open Limited currently consists
    of four directors, two from each of the founding organisations -
    OpenForum Europe and Free Software Foundation Europe. Certified Open
    was originally developed with support of the UK Government's
    eInnovations programme, and the eTEN programme of the European
    Commission. It has already been extensively trialled with support
    from the community, industry and user organisations.

 3. The Certified Open programme has a 3 Month Trial period running
    until end January 2008. During this period all accreditations will
    be free of charge and submissions will remain confidential. The
    trial can be accessed at www.certifiedopen.com.

 4. OpenForum Europe is a not-for-profit, independent organisation
    launched in March 2002 to accelerate, broaden and strengthen the use
    of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in business and government.
    OFE pursues the vision of an open, competitive European IT market by
    2010 in line with the European Commission i2010 Strategy, with the
    mission of facilitating open competitive choice for IT users

 5. Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is a non-profit
    non-governmental organisation active in many European countries and
    involved in global activities. FSFE is dedicated to Free Software,
    software that can be used, studied, shared and improved by its
    users. FSFE was founded in 2001 to create awareness for Free
    Software, secure Free Software politically and legally, and give
    people Freedom by supporting development of Free Software. FSFE
    wishes to secure equal participation in the information age and
    freedom of competition.

    Contact: Joachim Jakobs, Media Relations
    Email:	jakobs at fsfeurope.org 
    Tel: 	+49 700 373387673	Ext: 404 
    Mobile: 	+49 179 6919565

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