11.08.09

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Lobbying Leads to Protest — the FFII and the FSFE Rise in Opposition to Subverted EIF

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Standard at 8:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

European rights/freedom groups rise up against proprietary multinationals

Copenhagen demonstration

Summary: Malicious, self-serving intervention in the European Interoperability Framework (EIF) leads to “protest against EIFv2 day”

THE European Interoperability Framework (EIF) was derailed by what seems like lobbyists of Microsoft and proprietary allies such as SAP. We wrote about the subject in:

  1. European Interoperability Framework (EIF) Corrupted by Microsoft et al, Its Lobbyists
  2. Orwellian EIF, Fake Open Source, and Security Implications
  3. No Sense of Shame Left at Microsoft

Some people have called for “protest against EIFv2 day”. To quote a retweet from Glyn Moody, one of those few who formally submitted input to EIF on behalf of citizens (not companies): “RT @ggreve RD @jwildeboer Today is protest against EIFv2 day. > Indeed. I protest! !FSFE !GNU >>me too: won’t do any good, but me too #EIF

ggreve is Georg Greve, founder of the FSFE. His heir at the FSFE has written a formal and lengthy response to EIFv2, which Georg then promoted. It says, in part:

This week, Dutch journalist Brenno de Winter published a leaked draft for a new version of the European Interoperability Framework (EIF).

[...]

The reaction to the draft has been very strong. FSFE has sent a letter (below) to the people in member states of the EU who are in charge of eGovernment, telling them that this draft is unacceptable, that it will hurt the public sector (along with European citizens), and discredit the European institutions. The FFII has joined in with 10 recommendations to improve the draft.

[...]

The current text is not a viable successor to version 1 of the EIF. Instead of leading Europe forward into an interoperable future, it will promote vendor lock-in, block interoperability of eGovernment services, and damage the European software economy. If adopted, it will be a testament to the power which is exerted outside democratic and transparent processes, and will give rise to Euro-scepticism.

FSFE appeals to you to urge the European Commission to withdraw the current draft, in order to avoid replacing the sound and and widely accepted EIF version 1 with an extremely weak text prepared in an intransparent process. At stake are both interoperability in the public sector and the credibility of European institutions.

Glyn Moody wrote some more about EIF 2.0 and so did the FFII, whose statement includes:

“Microsoft and other larger companies went to lobby the European Commission and DG Enterprise in order to ask for the removal of the open standards definition, in order to exclude Free Software with patent royalties”, explains FFII President Benjamin Henrion, who followed the lobby debates in Brussels. While some lobbyists want to water the European Interoperability Framework down, others aim for better interoperability enforcement and full support for open standards with public ICT services.

It gets even more curious if one looks back at the lobbying from Microsoft front groups like CompTIA, BSA, and ACT [1, 2, 3]. For background, here is the information that IDABC makes available.

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