Ten of the biggest Dutch municipalities say ‘enough!’ to M$
In February 2003, the program “Open Source and Open Source Software (OSSOS) for the Dutch government” started, funded by the Dutch government. One of the main tasks was to make the government independent from single software suppliers, among which are Microsoft and SAP. After three years, the effort starts bearing fruit. Ten big municipalities – together 2,7 million inhabitants and including Amsterdam and The Hague – signed a manifest. I’ll try to explain what’s in the manifest, what that might mean for the future, and for the monopoly of Microsoft in the Dutch government.In the OSSOS program, big municipalities have discussed what the demands for software tenders should be in the future. It became clear, interoperability and independence from software supplier should be the most important aspects for such tenders.
Therefore, the municipalities Almere, Assen, Eindhoven (home of Royal Philips), Enschede, Groningen, Haarlem, Leeuwarden en Nijmegen published a manifest, in which those demands were summarized. At the same time, more municipalities were invited to join them and sign the manifest too. After some doubts, Amsterdam (the capital) and The Hague (the political capital, like Washington is to the USA) also signed the manifest, and more municipalities, but also other government agencies may still follow them.
Nonetheless, open source software isn’t mentioned in the manifest. This is done deliberately. Instead of asking for open source, the manifest explains what the goals of that ‘open source’ should be; making it harder for suppliers to abuse the term ‘open software’, and label their closed software ‘open’. There are four terms of ‘openness’ in the manifest:
- Supplier independence
- Transparency and verifiability and
- Digital durability