News

Netherlands Adopts Open-Source Software

The Dutch government has set a soft deadline of April 2008 for its agencies to start using open-source software -- freely distributed programs that anyone can modify -- the Netherlands Economic Affairs Ministry said Thursday.

Government organizations will still be able to use proprietary software and formats but will have to justify it under the new policy, ministry spokesman Edwin van Scherrenburg said.

Van Scherrenburg said the plan was approved unanimously at a meeting of two parliamentary commissions on Wednesday.

Many governments worldwide have begun testing open-source software to cut costs and eliminate dependency on individual companies such as Microsoft Corp. The government estimates it would save $8.8 million a year on city housing registers alone after switching to open source.

Microsoft has raced to achieve "open source" certification for its Open Office XML standard, but has so far failed to receive endorsement from the International Standards Organization, the certifying authority recognized by the Dutch government.

Microsoft Netherlands spokesman Hans Bos noted that its Word documents were still allowed as equal alternatives for the moment and said he expects the company to receive approval soon for its Open Office XML to qualify as open source.

But he said the company was worried about and opposed other aspects of the Dutch policy, especially the provision that agencies should prefer open source.

"We think it's not in the best interest of the wider software market to single out one model for endorsement like this," he said.

The numerous European towns and cities, notably Munich, Germany, and Vienna, Austria, using open-source systems remain a tiny slice of the overall software market.

The Dutch policy directs government organizations at the national level to be ready to use the Open Document Format to save documents by April, and at the state and local level by 2009.

Featured

  • Microsoft Talks Teams and SharePoint at Modern Workplace Event

    It's a hybrid world, but remote work is here to stay, according to Microsoft's Teams and SharePoint head Jeff Teper.

  • Malwarebytes Affirms Other APT Attack Methods Used Besides 'Solorigate'

    Security solutions company Malwarebytes affirmed on Monday that alternative methods besides tainted SolarWinds Orion software were used in the recent "Solorigate" advanced persistent threat (APT) attacks.

  • How To Fix the Hyper-V Read Only Disk Problem

    DOS might seem like a relic now, but sometimes it's the only way to fix a problem that Windows seems ill-equipped to deal with -- like this one.

  • Microsoft Warns IT Pros on Windows Netlogon Fix Coming Next Month

    Microsoft on Thursday issued a reminder to organizations to ensure that their systems are properly patched for a "Critical"-rated Windows Netlogon vulnerability before next month's "update Tuesday" patch distribution arrives.

comments powered by Disqus