Dutch government requires agencies to use open-source software

December 13, 2007

Dutch government requires agencies to use open-source softwareIn a bid to cut government spending and to eliminate dependency on individual companies such as Microsoft, the Dutch government has approved a plan to switch the country’s public sector over to open standards.

Presented by Dutch Economic Affairs State Secretary Frank Heemskerk,  the plan requires that primary government agencies within the Netherlands start supporting ODF-compliant open-source applications from April, 2008. The idea is that other software will be transitioned in January 2009, according to BetaNews.

Ministry spokesman Edwin van Schnerrenburg says the new policy will still allow government agencies to use proprietary software and formats but only after they justify why they still require proprietary solutions.

Likewise, the agencies are also required to come up with an action plan that includes a timeline for migration to open standards and free software.

In September, Microsoft issued formal objections on the proposal that would mandate the Dutch government to restrict itself into using Open Document Format (ODF) compatible open source software.

Hans Bos, Microsoft Netherlands spokesman told Associated Press: “We think it’s not in the best interest of the wider software market to single out one model for endorsement like this.”

Earlier this year, Microsoft failed to receive an endorsement from the International Standards Organization (ISO) for its Open Office XML standard “open source certification.” Should Microsoft achieve open source certification for its Open Office XML standard, it would be interesting to see whether the Dutch government will be willing to support open source software that uses Microsoft’s Open Office XML standard.

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