Why does the EU Parliament stick with Office and other Microsoft software ?
An Italian EU deputy, Marco Cappato, had the guts to ask. The reply was they were basing on a study made in 2005. He asked to them to make it public, but his request was refused. Nobody believed he could get the EU to make it public. An well known Italian IT website even called that ‘a miracle‘.
I’m going no further, I’ll just translate Cappato’s post and attach here the document for the world to see. Up to you to judge how good it is.
(not that is that the document is still super-secret, but it has been disclosed very recently and I guess you won’t have many other chances to read it otherwise)
Here’s the post:
We saw in the previous episode that the EU Parliament is a fan of “Office Suite”. The EU Commission has done a little bit better. Answering in May 2008 to an interrogation of mine, the commissary Siim Kallas declared that ‘The Commission is now able to accept and produce documents in the ODF format’ and that ‘The Commission already presented to other European institutions the technical approach to accept and produce ODF documents. Furthermore, in the ambit of its IDABC program, the Commission is working with the representatives of the member nations for the promotion and simplification of the Open Document Exchange Formats (ODEF). For further information see the site: http://ec.europa.eu/idabc/en/document/3439/5585“.
So I asked to the European Council if it got organized, on the basis of the Commission pulses, for the reception and use of the open formats. In particular, I proposed to:
1. make a study regarding the cost, economic and functional, of the actual dependency from a single software company, comparing it with the eventual savings derived from the adoption of free software, and
2. verify the existence of free software alternatives that could replace the existing proprietary software equipment, investigating on the solutions adopted by other institutional realities?
The council let me know they think that “the risk of dependancy from Microsoft mentioned by the honoured deputies is sufficiently low in virtue of the terms in the contract with the company”. In regard to the proposal of a study regarding the adoption of free software, “from a study realized by the Commitee inter-institutional of informatics in 2005 emerged that, calculating all the costs of an eventual global replacement of the protected software, that solution wouldn’t reduce the costs, but, at the contrary, would introduce new costs”.
So I asked to have access to the acts to know the contracts with Microsoft and the so-called “study” realized
The council opposed both questions, answering that “Divulging that information may mine the protection of commercial interests of Microsoft, since those contracts establish terms and conditions that are specific and privileged for the EU Institutions”. Have we reached the bottom yet ? No. The answer on the “Study” is a masterpiece. The General secretariat of the Council, in fact, wrote to me: “our administration didn’t kept copy of that study”.
All lost (study included?). No. At the end (of the legislature) the study came.
Here it is (attached).
So, guys, it’s to late for me to read the carefully the report right now (and furthermore, it’s not just english, there are French parts). I’m putting this out in the wild so everyone can read it.
>>> DOWNLOAD: studio-free-software-cii-ep-2009-21366-annex.pdf <<<
You judge. As for me… gosh, Gartner. Gart..muwahwhawhaha. (sorry, it’s late night here )
- the original article is released under an (unspecified) Create Commons license and so is this translation. Be sure to attribute it to Marco (translation inaccurancies apart)
- if you dare to read it, let me know what you think about the study.
- if you find the study useful, consider dropping a thank you in the comments of Marco’s post.
Two almost randomly chosen slides from the study