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OSEPA Open Source Policy Statement

Survey: Open source procurement costs less and reduces vendor lock-in

Lower costs of procurement and getting rid of IT vendor lock-in are the two main benefits of using free and open source software, concludes a survey conducted among public administrations across Europe. Sharing applications and customisation of software are two other important arguments for public authorities to switch to this type of software.

The survey was organised by Osepa, a project to increase awareness on the advantages of free and open source software, funded in part by the European Regional Development Fund. Between October and December last year, the Osepa consortium, a group of twelve public administrations and the University of Sheffield, collected input from 1088 representatives of public administrations in 19 European countries.

The results were made public this week Thursday, at the Second Osepa conference, held in the Czech city of Jihlava.

Organisational inertia is one of the main barriers to the increase of free and open source software, concludes Osepa. Several respondents identified that some public organisations resist any change in software use and related practices."

"Technical difficulties and lack of support in integrating free and open source applications to existing proprietary systems also seem to prevent public organisations from migrating to open source solutions."

Public administrations mostly use this type of software simply to solve practical IT problems, and not because of policies that encourage it.

The survey concludes that many public organisations have adopted approaches that tend to support free and open source software. These approaches, however, do not always reflect in elaborate, open source-specific strategies and do not necessarily translate into concrete actions and implementations. "Policies that, in principle, favour the use of this type of software may actually result in poor implementations."

More information: Presentations of the 2nd Osepa conference (tgz file)