[FSFE PR][EN] Bolzano, please don't waste your money

press at fsfeurope.org press at fsfeurope.org
Fri Jul 2 10:47:00 CEST 2010

= Bolzano, please don't waste your money =

== FSFE supports open letter from LUGBZ to Province of South Tyrol ==

[Permanent URL: http://www.fsfe.org/news/2010/news-20100702-01.en.html ]

Dear Minister Roberto Bizzo,

on 25 May 2010 the regional government authority of Bolzano decided to
spend 2.2 million EUR over the next three years to renew software
licenses from Microsoft Ireland, and to buy additional licenses. All
this was done without a public call for tender, making it impossible for
competing suppliers of similar software to make offers of their own.

We ask you to rethink this decision. It will influence your strategic
position over a much longer time frame than the three years for which
the licenses will last.

The European Commission’s vice president Neelie Kroes said on June 13
2010 in Brussels [1]:

  "Many authorities have found themselves unintentionally locked into
  proprietary technology for decades. After a certain point that
  original choice becomes so ingrained that alternatives risk being
  systematically ignored, no matter what the potential benefits. This is
  a waste of public money that most public bodies can no longer afford."

With your decision to buy Microsoft Sharepoint and Microsoft Office
communication server software without evaluating Free Software
alternatives you will increase your organisation's dependence on
Microsoft. You will take your IT systems further down the one-way street
of proprietary formats and proprietary software, locking in your
organisation's own data along with that of the citizens of Bolzano.

You are also running the risk of accusations about the improper handling
about procurement processes. The protracted lawsuit against the Swiss
Federal Administration [2], which is still ongoing, provides an example
of the possible legal consequences.

The decisions you are making today will have an impact for the years to
come. Breaking out of the lock-in will only become more expensive over
time, as you risk turning more of your valuable data into digital toxic

Rather than throw good money after bad, we ask you to step back from
your deal with Microsoft, and issue a public call for tender open to all
suppliers. When making a choice about the future solution for your
organisation, we urge you to consider the strategic freedom which Free
Software, Open Standards and open file formats provide, rather than
deepening your dependence on a single vendor.

You might also wish to investigate the opportunities that such a
strategy would provide for local businesses in the province of
Bolzano-Bozen, which has successfully turned itself into a Free Software

In the interest of the citizens of Bolzano-Bozen, we urge you to accept
the offer of a dialogue extended to you by local Free Software experts
at the GNU/Linux User Group Bolzano (LUGBZ) and the Free Software
Foundation Europe. We stand ready to advise you on your strategic
options in software procurement, and discuss the opportunities afforded
by Free Software and Open Standards.

Karsten Gerloff

Free Software Foundation Europe

  1. http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=SPEECH/10/300&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en
  2. http://www.eweekeurope.co.uk/news/news-solutions-applications/red-hat-sues-switzerland-over-microsoft-monopoly-963

== About the Free Software Foundation Europe ==

  The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is a non-profit
  non-governmental organisation active in many European countries and
  involved in many global activities. Access to software determines
  participation in a digital society.  To secure equal participation in
  the information age, as well as freedom of competition, the Free
  Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) pursues and is dedicated to the
  furthering of Free Software, defined by the freedoms to use, study,
  modify and copy. Founded in 2001, creating awareness for these issues,
  securing Free Software politically and legally, and giving people
  Freedom by supporting development of Free Software are central issues
  of the FSFE.


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