[Discussioni] Molti bandi di sw nell'UE favoriscono i sw proprietari

Marco Ciurcina ciurcina a studiolegale.it
Ven 31 Ott 2008 18:04:12 CET


Many software tenders in EU maybe 'illegal'  

Software tenders by European public administration often may not comply with 
EU regulations, illegally favouring proprietary applications. "These tenders 
could be protested against, and if necessary the tendering organisations 
could be taken to court", said Karel De Vriendt, head of the IDABC unit 
responsible for the Open Source Software Observatory and Repository 
The European Commission's IDABC on Monday published a draft of the 'Guidelines 
on public procurement and Open Source Software', at the Open Source World 
conference taking place in Malaga. The guideline shows how how public 
administrations can end discrimination against Open Source in public tenders. 
It also details how and when the characteristics of Open Source software, 
such as the right to use the software without restrictions, the right the 
study the software code, the right to adapt the software code when needed and 
the right to share the software with others, can be relevant requirements in 
public tenders.

"Many people assume there is level playing field and that measures to promote 
Open Source are no longer needed. In fact, there is widespread bias in favour 
of proprietary applications", said Rishab Ghosh, one of the authors of the 
Guidelines. Ghosh is a researcher at UNU-Merit, a joint project by the 
institute of the United Nations University and Maastricht University in The 
Netherlands. UNU-Merit is one of the partners in the consortium, that on 
behalf of the European Commission, has set up, operates and maintains the 
Open Source Software Observatory and Repository.

According to Gosh, software tenders often have either implicit or explicit 
bias for software brands or even specific applications. Of a thousand 
government IT organisations, 33 percent said compatibility with previously 
acquired software is the most important criterion when selecting new 
applications. Ghosh: "This implicit vendor-lock in means that a tender, meant 
to last for only five years, leads to a contractual relation lasting ten, 
fifteen years or more."

Specifying Open Standards in software tenders could avoid such situations.

Ghosh and his fellow researchers also found many cases of explicit bias in 
favour of proprietary software.  Of a sample of 3615 software tenders that 
were published between January and August this year, 36 percent request 
Microsoft software, 20 percent ask for Oracle, 12 percent mention IBM 
applications, 11 percent request SAP and 10 percent are asking for 
applications made by Adobe. According to Ghosh in these cases, a government 
organisation typically asks for a number of licences or a number of copies of 
a software application. "It is like requesting the latest Volkswagens and 
then expecting that everyone can sell these. We all know only Volkswagen 
dealers can do so."

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