Governments across Europe are steadily moving away from vendor-locked, non standard technologies towards open standard and vendor neutral technologies. One such example is the adoption of Open Document Format (ODF) across European government agencies.
In a recent interview with ITworld, Italo Vignoli, the co-founder of TDF gave us a glimpse of massive adoption of ODF and LibreOffice in Europe:
“In France, 15 ministries for a total of 500,000 PCs, in Spain the region of Valencia with 120,000 PCs plus the region of Extremadura with a smaller – but always large – number, in the Netherlands the Ministry of Defense with 45,000 PCs, in Denmark the hospitals of Copenhagen, in Germany the city of Munich with 15,000 PCs plus a number of local governments.
In Italy, Regione Emilia Romagna with 3,500 PCs, Provinces of Perugia with 1,200 PCs, Cremona with 500 PCs, Macerata with 500 PCs, Trento with 4,000 PCs, Bolzano with 6,000 PCs, cities of Bologna with 3,000 PCs, Piacenza with 600 PCs, Reggio EMilia with 500 PCs, Galliera Hospital in Genoa with 2,500 PCs (now at their 10th migration anniversary), healthcare ASL 5 with 2,500 PCs, and many others.”
Now, the Netherlands government is looking to speed up the adoption of ODF and announced during the recent 11th ODF Plugfest event in Hague that they will join the OASIS ODF technical committee.
“The need to adopt ODF is a no-brainer,” said Nico Westpalm van Hoorn, chairman of the Netherlands government body responsible for selecting IT standards for government. “But adoption is taking too long. We are putting ODF at the top of our list”.
Commenting on the Dutch announcement, Jos van den Oever, co-chair of the ODF technical committee said, “If we want to advance the state of the art and mature the ecosystem, we need input and involvement from the heavy users. In return such organisations can vastly increase both their return on investment, as well as their productivity and autonomy”.
Vendor neutral technologies are sustainable
Open standard, vendor neutral and ‘open source’ technologies are more sustainable than proprietary ones. These solutions don’t rely on the very survival of the company that offers the product, because if the company goes out of business the product so does the product thus making it unsustainable. On the contrary open source, vendor neutral products don’t rely on one vendor and customers can get solutions from different providers, or they themselves can develop the capability to maintain the software.
When I asked about the increasing adoption of open source in the enterprise and public sector, Sam Ramji, the CEO of Cloud Foundry told me recently, “The customers are demanding open source because it gives them some sense of source code escrow, that they will be able to manage this software in future when the software company may not care, it reaches end of life or the company goes out of business.”
This advantage of open source technologies are making them increasingly popular among the enterprise segment as well as government.