EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

05.20.09

The EU Council Answers Marco Cappato’s Question About Microsoft Dependence vs. Europe’s IT Independence

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 1:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Milda

Summary: A look at Microsoft’s contact with the EU, which was under internal probe again

THE NEWS about Obama and Microsoft’s Mundie was discouraging and disheartening [1, 2, 3]. The Democrats are already pretty close to Microsoft, having received funds from Microsoft [1, 2, 3]. In addition to this, adds one reader of ours: “just wanted to point out that Craig Mundie and Neelie Kroes have met at this year’s Bilderberg meeting in Greece. [...] this year Mundie gets to rub shoulders with Rockefeller.” Here is the Bilderberg attendee list for this year (or this list from a more reputable source). Let us never forget Steve Ballmer's schmoozing of Neelie Neelie. We also wrote about Mundie's visits to Europe quite recently and we know about the Gateses in Bilderberg, notably Melinda French as we once noted. Other previous posts touch on this group too [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], but it’s beyond the scope of this short report. Slashdot drew attention to another little tidbit that may or may not have new impact:

Senate Sources Say CTO Confirmation a Done Deal

[...]

It might also be worth bringing up Chopra’s membership in TiE-DC, a group which promises ‘exclusive peer networking events’ with government officials and Federal contractors, including TiE-DC sponsor Microsoft.

Looking at Europe as we did some days ago (the Gartner anti-Linux fiasco), we find some more information about Marco Cappato, who fought for transparency and may have revealed Microsoft corruption in the process.

After much battling, Cappato obtained the study. Since it was actually written in 2005, and based on even earlier work, its conclusion are pretty worthless: they essentially say that there is no cost benefit to switching from Microsoft’s products to free, but do note that there are issues of independence involved that politicians might like to consider.

Given that things have moved on so much in the last five years, particularly in terms of office document format standards, I don’t want to dwell on those outdated results. Instead, I’d like to highlight the fact that the European Union’s bureaucracy fought to keep it unpublished for all that time; worse, the justification was protecting the “commercial interests of Microsoft”.

Watch this query from Marco Cappato (ALDE) and Marco Pannella (ALDE). They asked the council about use of Free software (not “open source”), which shows that they truly challenge the status quo for the benefit of the public.

Subject: Adoption of free software by the EU institutions

The ‘European Commission against Microsoft’ case has seen the Commission punish the US company with two fines totalling EUR 1.68 billion for abuse of a dominant position.

The European institutions only use Microsoft products (Windows XP Professional operating system, Internet Explorer web browser, MS Outlook e‑mail client and the MS Office package), and rarely are different types of software installed. According to Parliament’s IT services, this is the result of an interinstitutional choice. This generates high costs arising from the purchase of thousands of software licences, and in practice makes the EU institutions dependent on a single supplier in a dominant position, with ensuing problems as regards the accessibility of documents produced in proprietary formats and of interoperability.

The German Parliament decided in 2004 to adopt free software, as did the French Parliament in 2007, and as have other elected assemblies and public institutions.

Does the Council not consider — with a view both to sending a positive political signal as regards open source technologies and pursuing a cost-cutting policy — that it could and should:

1. conduct a study on the economic and functional cost of the current dependency on a sole software supply company, comparing this with the savings that could be made if free software were adopted; and

2. ascertain whether alternative free software exists which could replace the current proprietary software, looking at the solutions adopted in other institutions?

Here is a council’s answer from the 28th of May, 2008 (two and a half months after the question was asked).

Like other public bodies, the Council uses mainly Microsoft software. However, this company’s software is not used exclusively. It is not used, for example, for the Council’s standard e-mail system.

The Council considers that the risk of dependency on Microsoft as mentioned by the Honourable Members is sufficiently limited by the terms of the contract concluded with the company. As for the suggestion that it be ascertained whether the current proprietary software can be replaced by similar free software, or ‘open source software’ (OSS), as it is called, a study carried out by the Interinstitutional Data-processing Committee in 2005 showed that when all the costs of completely replacing protected software are considered, the result would not be a budgetary saving; on the contrary, additional costs would be involved.

Nevertheless, the Council will continue to seek solutions, including OSS, that accord best with the principles of independence, efficiency and good financial management.

Are things about to change? There is definitely hope.

Will European rules impact open source business models?

[...]

The main reform is to allow for downloading and implementation of open source without a formal tender, bypassing the expensive procurement process.

Italian activists are already fighting against inherently illegal Microsoft contracts.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

2 Comments

  1. twitter said,

    May 21, 2009 at 12:34 am

    Gravatar

    Studies of free software migration at this point are a waste of time and governments should simply mandate free software for their own use. The last studies were nothing more than a delaying tactic, put on to silence critics, and everyone involved should be ashamed. The EU “study” bought M$ at least 5 years. Every major government now has successful pilot programs and there is no further need for studdies. Free software deployment requires no more research, and sometimes considerably less, than the equivalent non free software purchase. It can be argued that this was the case five years ago as well but now even the general public is aware of migrations by government agencies like the US FAA, France’s National Police and the City of Munich. Mandating free software use would be fitting punishment for crime Gartner and M$ have committed.

  2. Needs Sunlight said,

    May 21, 2009 at 7:35 am

    Gravatar

    Agreed. The studies were fine in the 1990′s. The the data is in and the analyses long since complete. The advantages of FOSS have only increased.

    At this point one has to take proposals for new studies as potential MSFTers just trying to slow things down. Money needs to be spent on deployment of FOSS. Failing that, simply migrating away from Windows to any other platform.

What Else is New


  1. Leaked: Battistelli Acknowledges Bunk 'Justice' in About 100 Cases at the Internal Appeals Committee of the EPO

    A look at Battistelli's response to the latest from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), exceptionally delivering two decisions at the very end of last month



  2. The UPC Scam Part V: Unitary Patent Regime a Fantasy of Patent Trolls

    "Good for trolls" is a good way to sum up the Unitary Patent, which would give litigators plenty of business (defendants and plaintiffs, plus commissions on high claims of damages) if it ever became a reality



  3. EPO at a Tipping Point: Battistelli Quarrelling With French Politicians, Administrative Council Urged to Act, Staff Unrest Peaking

    The latest messages about Battistelli's regime at the EPO, which faces growing opposition from more directions than ever before



  4. Quality of Patents at the EPO Dependent on the Appeal Boards When Battistelli Assesses Performance Using the Wrong 'Production' Yardstick

    A look at some recent articles regarding patent quality in the US and in Europe, in particular because of growing trouble at today's EPO, which marginalises the appeal boards



  5. Microsoft's Push for Software Patents Another Reminder That There is No 'New' Microsoft

    Microsoft's continued fascination with and participation in the effort to undermine Alice so as to make software patents, which the company uses to blackmail GNU/Linux vendors, widely acceptable and applicable again



  6. Links 5/12/2016: SparkyLinux 4.5 Released, Kondik Exits Cyanogen (Destroyed After Microsoft Deal)

    Links for the day



  7. Software Patents Continue Their Invalidation Process, But Patent Law Firms Try to Deny This in Order to Attract Misinformed (or Poorly-Informed) Clients

    A roundup of news about software patents and demonstration of the sheer bias in the media, which is mostly controlled or steered by the patent microcosm rather than actual inventors



  8. Patent Trolls of Microsoft and Ericsson Are Trying to Tax Everything, Especially Linux Devices

    An update on Intellectual Ventures and Unwired Planet, whose operations pose a growing problem for Free software and Linux-based products (e.g. Android)



  9. Asia's Patent Litigation Chaos Getting Worse, Reaching Countries in the West, and Sites Like IAM Actively Promote This

    The race to the bottom (of patent quality) in China, the growth of patent trolls in the region, and the ruinous litigation strategy which now spills over even to the US -- through the Eastern District of Texas -- and may inevitably come to Europe (especially if the UPC ever becomes a reality)



  10. More French Politicians Are Complaining That Benoît Battistelli is a Disgrace to France and Urge for Action

    The backlash against Battistelli spills well outside the EPO and is now apparent even at the French National Assembly



  11. Links 3/12/2016: Mageia 5.1 Released, Mozilla Revenue at $421.3M

    Links for the day



  12. Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) Sees Decline in Patent Applications and It May Actually be a Good Thing

    Challenging the false belief that the more patents society has the better off it will be, citing examples and news from north America



  13. Blockchain Domain Infested With Software Patents, MasterCard Among the Culprits

    Worrying signs that an area of Free/Open Source software innovation is getting impacted by the plague of software patents



  14. Dutch Media Covers Latest EPO Scandals, German Media Totally Absent (a Media Blackout of Convenience)

    Our observations regarding the apparent media disinterest in EPO scandals, especially at the very core of the EPO (principal host country)



  15. Relocating the Boards of Appeal to Haar is a Poisonous Priority at Battistelli's EPO

    Revisiting Battistelli's effort to chop off the appeal boards that are necessary for ensuring patent quality at the EPO



  16. Links 2/12/2016: Mint Betas, Chrome 55, KDevelop 5.0.3, PHP 7.1.0

    Links for the day



  17. The Rule of Law and Justice Don't Exist Inside the EPO, Confirms the International Labour Organisation (ILO)

    Further analysis of the latest rulings from the ILO -- decisions that were long expected



  18. A Day in the Life of... Battistelli's Banana Republic

    This is part 5 of a fictional diary from the EPO



  19. Links 1/12/2016: Devuan Beta, R3 Liberates Code

    Links for the day



  20. Two ILO Decisions on EPO Cases Are Released, at Least One Judgment is Considered Good for Staff

    Years later (as justice is too slow, partly because of the EPO, being the principal culprit that clogs up the ILO's tribunal system) there is a couple of new judgments about EPO abuses against staff



  21. Dutch and French Politicians Complain About the European Patent Office, British Media Coverage Regular Now

    Pressure from the political systems, the scientific community and from the media is growing, as it becomes abundantly apparent that the EPO cannot go on like this



  22. Links 30/11/2016: Git 2.11, GOG Surprise Tomorrow

    Links for the day



  23. The UPC Scam Part IV: Bumps Along the Road for UPC, With or Without the UK and Brexit

    A sobering reality check regarding the UPC, no matter what Lucy Neville-Rolfe says under pressure from Battistelli and some selfish law firms that are based in London



  24. The UPC Scam Part III: The “Patent Mafia”

    Bigwigs like Lucy Neville-Rolfe and Benoît Battistelli, together with Team UPC and its tiny minority interests (self enrichment), are conspiring to hijack the laws of Europe, doing so across many national borders with unique and locally-steered patent policy in one fell swoop



  25. The UPC Scam Part II: The Patent Echo Chamber at Work, Prematurely Congratulating Itself in Its 'News' Sites





  26. The UPC Scam Part I: EPO-Bribed Media Outlets Lie to Brits (and to Europeans) About the UPC

    An introductory article in a multi-part series about UPC at times of Brexit and Lucy Neville-Rolfe's bizarre sellout to Battistelli



  27. European Public Service Union Asks EPO Administrative Council “to Re-establish the Rule of Law at the European Patent Office”

    The chinchillas of the Administrative Council are assertively asked to tackle the abusive management of the EPO, which gets condemned not only by CERN but also EPSU, which is working with the Dutch government to end lawlessness at the EPO



  28. Links 29/11/2016: Core Apps Hackfest, MuckRock Goes FOSS

    Links for the day



  29. ILOAT Decisions: Upcoming Publication of Two EPO Cases (Abuse Against Staff)

    Reminder about tomorrow's "exceptional public delivery" from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and a request for additional information



  30. Mixing Politics and EPO: How Battistelli Defies the Very Basic Rules of the Office

    A reminder of the fact that Battistelli was entrenched in French politics even while he was serving at the EPO


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts