[FSFE PR][EN] UK takes major step towards competition, innovation in software market

Free Software Foundation Europe press at fsfeurope.org
Fri Nov 2 12:13:46 CET 2012

= UK takes major step towards competition, innovation in software market =

 [Read online: http://fsfe.org/news/2012/news-20121101-02.en.html]

The UK government has released a new Open Standards policy. FSFE
welcomes this document as a major step towards more competition and
innovation in the UK software market.

"With this policy, and in particular with its strong definition of Open
Standards, the UK government sets an example that governments elsewhere
should aspire to", says Karsten Gerloff, President of the Free Software
Foundation Europe. Under the new policy, effective immediately, patents
that are essential to implementing a standard must be licensed without
royalties or restrictions that would prevent their implementation in
Free Software.

Exit costs are another issue where the policy represents significant
progress. In future, when UK government bodies buy a software solution,
they have to include in the price a calculation of what it will cost
them to get out of this solution in the future. This is perhaps the
first time that a government has made this long-standing demand of FSFE
an explicit policy. It means that government bodies cannot simply avoid
buying Free Software solutions because they are locked into one
particular vendor's proprietary file formats.

"Open  Standards  are really a choice between free competition on the
one hand, and leaving the market to a few big players on the other hand.
It's great to see that the UK government puts the country's interests
first, and refuses to be constrained by the bad old ways of doing
things", says Gerloff. "This policy will open up the market and remove
barriers to entry, promoting innovation and competition".

Experience in other countries shows that achieving real change in the
way the public sector buys software will be hard. FSFE therefore believe
that the UK government would do well to take advantage of this
opportunity and put even greater emphasis on increasing the use of Free
Software in the country's public sector. This is an area where the UK
still lags behind many other countries by a long margin, and much effort
will be required to catch up.

Further analysis by FSFE: - The UK's new Open Standards policy:
- FSFE Open Standard definition:
- FSFE submission to UK Open Standards consultation:
Find more about the UK Government Open Standards policy
- UK Government: Open Standards Consultation documents:
- UK Government: Open Standards Principles:
- UK Government: Open Standards Consultation: The Government response:

== Contact ==

  Ana Galán Herranz
  Free Software Foundation Europe
  E-Mail: anaghz at fsfe.org
  Phone: +49 30 27 59 52 90

  Karsten Gerloff
  President, Free Software Foundation Europe
  E-Mail: gerloff at fsfeurope.org
  Phone: +49 176 9690 4298

== 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.  http://fsfe.org/

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