[Discussioni] I costi nascosti dei formati proprietari
ciurcina a studiolegale.it
Ven 31 Ott 2008 18:04:29 CET
Hidden cost of proprietary standards may lead to illegal tenders
The hidden exit costs imposed by a previous software acquisition are a major
reason for public administrations to tender software by naming brand names or
specific products, which may be illegal, says a draft report by the European
Commission's Open Source Observatory and Repository project (OSOR).
The report 'Guidelines on public procurement and Open Source Software', was
released on Monday in Malaga, Spain, during the Open Source World Conference.
The guideline is meant to explain to public administrators why it is useful
to acquire Open Source and Open Standards software, and how they can do so
under the current procurement rules.
According to the report, public administrations that are not selecting Open IT
Standards when tendering software can cause contractual obligations to extend
beyond the procurement period. This is not normally allowed by tender
regulations. "The administration did not think about the exit costs five
years ago, and now they are stuck", explained Rishab Ghosh, one of the
authors of the guideline, who presented the study in the city of Malaga.
A basic assumption of public procurement is that at the end of the defined
period, the public administrator has no contractual obligations towards the
software vendor. This assumption breaks down for software based on
proprietary standards. "If the software originally purchased makes it
difficult to use documents and data with similar software from other
produces, there is a high cost of changing software vendor", says the report.
"If you cannot quantify these exit costs, then you should limit them. If you
cannot limit them, then you either need other software, or you need better
criteria", Ghosh said on Monday. He called on public administrations to begin
to properly evaluate the long term costs of the use of proprietary
standards. "Public administrations need to keep their options open. Their
documents and date must be available for ever."
According to the guideline, using Open IT standards will help to make public
IT systems sustainable over the long term. "This implies lower costs over the
longer term, but more importantly, reduces the users' reliance on the
original vendors of the software."
The guideline recommends public administrations to list criteria for Open IT
standards when they tender software, for example by requiring that the
standard is implementable by all potential providers or does not restrict
Ghosh works at UNU-MERIT in The Netherlands, a research institute of the
United Nations University and Maastricht University, one of the partners in
The Open Source Observatory and Repository (OSOR) Technical platform (or Web
site) is a project owne ...
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