[FSFE PR][EN] Summit Meeting of UK and International NGOs calls upon UK Government to deliver on Open Standards

Free Software Foundation Europe press at fsfeurope.org
Wed Apr 25 10:23:24 CEST 2012

= Summit Meeting of UK and International NGOs calls upon UK Government
to deliver on Open Standards =

[Read online: http://fsfe.org/news/2012/news-20120425-02.en.html ]

The Free Software Foundation Europe held a summit meeting on Monday of
Free Software and Open Standards experts. Hosted by the BCS Open Source
Specialist Group, the meeting was called in reaction to the ongoing
public consultation by the Cabinet Office on the use of Open Standards
in Government [1]. It was triggered by concerns over the currently
proposed policy, which would discriminate against the use of Free
Software in the public sector, thanks to a definition which would allow
Government to adopt standards which impose charges, prohibiting its use [2].

"The policy being proposed in the consultation would constitute a u-turn
from the Government's commitment to a level playing field for software
and for businesses promised last year [3]" said Sam Tuke, UK Coordinator
of FSFE. "Lobbying and deliberation have resulted in another year of
Britain falling behind neighbouring countries in realising the savings
and interoperability benefits of Free Software [4][5][6]".

Gerry Gavigan, chair of the Open Source Consortium said: “The government
has been talking about the need for open standards since 2002. In the
meantime the oligopoly gripping public sector IT, first officially
identified in 2004, continues, as does the use of restrictive and choice
limiting proprietary standards for software".

Graham Taylor, Chief Executive, Open Forum Europe said: “Government
needs to move beyond policy setting and deliver on its past promises. It
is right to see public procurement as the focus for its activities, but
to change past behaviour it needs to invest more in education, and be
willing to be more prescriptive in its dealing with procurement decisions”.

Simon Phipps, a Director of the Open Source Initiative said: "OSI has
long asserted that unrestricted open standards are essential for open
source; the Open Standards Requirement of 2006 [7] explains why. We join
other groups serving the UK in calling on the government to embrace a
truly open standards requirement."

Jim Killock, Executive Director of ORG said: "Open Standards are best
when they are free to use, and can't be hijacked and stifled.
Unfortunately, some major software companies want to have vetoes and
decide where payments are made. While governments need flexibility, they
should be clear that royalty free standards will ensure greater
competition and innovation."

Howard Thomson, Treasurer, and  Martin Houston, Council Member, of FLOSS
UK said: "Adopting open standards and freedom from having to pay license
fees for intellectual property just to implement those standards is
vital for the future efficient use of IT in this country, giving good
value for money to the taxpayer and the opportunity for a vibrant local
IT culture to benefit everyone."

A group of attendees also agreed jointly to urge the Government to stay
committed to its stated goals of openness and  competition, and
published a joint statement [8] pledging to assist in the process of
practically implementing an open standards policy.

== Links ==

[1] http://consultation.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/openstandards/
[2] http://fsfe.org/projects/os/bsa-letter-analysis.en.html#3
[7] http://opensource.org/osr-intro
[8] http://fsfe.org/news/2012/news-20120425-01.en.html

== 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.

== About the Open Source Consortium ==

Open Source Consortium is a UK based association of firms and
individuals that deliver solutions and advice based on Open Standards
and Free & Open Source Software. We campaign ceaselessly for the use of
Open Standards in all aspects of public and commercial life, promoting
the unique advantages of Free & Open Source Software and welcome anyone
that supports our aims and objective. http://www.opensourceconsortium.org/

== About the Open Source Initiative ==

The Open Source Initiative (OSI) is a non-profit corporation with global
scope formed to educate about and advocate for the benefits of open
source and to build bridges among different constituencies in the open
source community. http://opensource.org

== About FLOSS UK ==

Free and Libre Open Source Software UK is for people who care about Open
IT standards and the systems that implement them. We promote education
and understanding through our newsletter, regular briefings and
conferences. We are independent of any industry groupings and are
not-for-profit. We value intelligence, thoughtfulness and long-term
thinking rather than immediacy and froth. http://www.flossuk.org/

== About Open Rights Group ==

Open Rights Group is the UK’s leading voice defending freedom of
expression, privacy, innovation, creativity and consumer rights on the
net. We campaign to change public policy whenever your rights are
threatened, by talking to policy-makers, informing the public through
the media, and mobilising our supporters. Founded in 2005 by 1,000
digital activists, ORG is a non-profit organisation.

= Press contacts =

Howard Thomson, FLOSS UK : howard.thomson at dial.pipex.com, 077 7091 7538
Martin Houston,  FLOSS UK : mhoust42 at gmail.com
Sam Tuke, FSFE : samtuke at fsfe.org, 0049 30275 95290
Graham Taylor, OFE : graham at openforumeurope.org
Peter Bradwell, ORG : peter at openrightsgroup.org
Gerry Gavigan, OSC : gerry.gavigan at opensourceconsortium.org, 077 8755 8976
Simon Phipps, OSI : webmink at opensource.org, 023 8098 7027

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