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  4. <title>Public Procurement - Overview - FSFE</title>
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  6. <body class="article" microformats="h-entry">
  7. <p id="category" class="p-category"><a href="/work.html">Our Work</a></p>
  8. <h1 class="p-name">Public procurement</h1>
  9. <div class="e-content">
  10. <div class="p-summary">
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  12. <p>
  13. <a href="/freesoftware/basics/4freedoms.en.html">Free Software</a>
  14. is a perfect fit for the public sector. It is a public resource that
  15. government organisations can use, study, improve, and share with
  16. each other. For citizens, this means transparency, cost efficiency,
  17. and the freedom to interact with their government in the way that
  18. suits them best.
  19. </p>
  20. <p>
  21. But not all government institutions are taking advantage of Free
  22. Software. In consequence, public funds are being wasted, and
  23. programs that should be free are being locked away. This
  24. also makes life hard for the Free Software-based companies who
  25. employ people in Europe, and pay their taxes here.
  26. </p>
  27. </div>
  28. <h2>FSFE explains the problem</h2>
  29. <p>
  30. Procurement is a field for specialists. Many procurement officials are
  31. still not fully aware of Free Software. Combined with inertia in
  32. public sector IT departments, this means that too many public bodies
  33. never look beyond their long-standing relations with suppliers of
  34. non-free software.
  35. </p>
  36. <p>
  37. At FSFE, we work with journalists and researchers to highlight the
  38. work of public sector organisations that are doing it right. When a
  39. public body makes mistakes, we help them to correct them. And when
  40. necessary, we put pressure on organisations that insist on harmful
  41. ways of purchasing software.
  42. </p>
  43. <h2>Why procurement matters </h2>
  44. <p>
  45. Public procurement spending equals nearly 20% of the EU's GDP <a class="fn" id="ref-ofe-procurement" href="#fn-ofe-procurement">1</a>. The
  46. public sector's procurement choices have very real effects on the
  47. economy, and play a significant role in determining the sort of firms
  48. that thrive in the market.
  49. Even with current procurement practices, Free Software already
  50. delivers very significant benefits for the European economy. Daffara
  51. (2012) estimates that Europeans enjoy 114 billion EUR per year in
  52. direct cost savings thanks to Free Software<a class="fn" id="ref-daffara-estimate" href="#fn-daffara-estimate">2</a>.Anecdotal evidence points in the same direction. Many public adminstrations that begin using Free Software see their IT costs drop by 50-90%.
  53. </p>
  54. <p>
  55. The public sector's buying decisions also has a significant influence
  56. on the development of a healthy supplier ecosystem for Free Software
  57. products and services. With more government institutions as their
  58. customers, many such companies could thrive more quickly, and there
  59. would be more and better Free Software programs available to the
  60. public.
  61. </p>
  62. <h2>FSFE speaks up when things go wrong...</h2>
  63. <p>
  64. In 2010, the European Commission made <a href="">a glaring mistake</a>. The
  65. Commission had issued numerous policy statements in favour of Free
  66. Software and Open Standards. But when it came to buying software and
  67. services for itself, it went straight to Microsoft and its
  68. resellers. Companies offering Free Software never had a chance, even
  69. though their products offered the same functionality.
  70. </p>
  71. <p>
  72. We saw that the Commission had certainly breached the spirit, if not
  73. the letter, of the law. So we took them to task, generating lots of
  74. press coverage - right up to the New York Times.
  75. </p>
  76. <p>
  77. We want the European Commission to procure
  78. the software products it needs in an open, competitive fashion,
  79. giving Free Software suppliers the same opportunities as it gives
  80. to proprietary vendors and their resellers.
  81. </p>
  82. <p>
  83. We want the EC to take a long-term view of its IT strategy,
  84. realise the dangers of lock-in, and figure future exit costs into
  85. the price of any solution it acquires.
  86. </p>
  87. <p>
  88. This is what the Commission owes to Europe's citizens. Sticking to
  89. the letter and spirit of European procurement law would be an
  90. excellent start.
  91. </p>
  92. <h2>…and offers independent solutions</h2>
  93. <p>
  94. Fortunately, most people are more open to progress than that.
  95. We help procurement officials understand the full impact of
  96. their actions, and we help them to do better -- not only for
  97. their organisations, but also for the citizens whom they serve.
  98. </p>
  99. <p>
  100. At FSFE, we are in constant dialogues with procurement
  101. specialists across Europe. We observe new approaches, identify
  102. what works, and <a href="">provide analysis</a> to decision makers. We help
  103. specialists in different countries learn from each other.
  104. </p>
  105. <p>
  106. To speed up change at the ground level, we also work with
  107. national governments to help them draft policies that promote
  108. Free Software adoption. In January 2014, Italy introduced <a href="">a rule
  109. requiring public bodies to first evaluate Free Software before
  110. buying non-free solutions</a>. FSFE's General Counsel Carlo Piana
  111. was part of the expert committee installed by the government to
  112. design this rule, alongside participants from all sectors of the
  113. software market.
  114. </p>
  115. <p>
  116. This is the sort of change that FSFE helps to create. Please
  117. <a href="">support us</a> in this effort.
  118. </p>
  119. <h2 id="fn">Footnotes</h2>
  120. <ol>
  121. <li id="fn-ofe-procurement">Open Forum Europe (2013): <a href="">OFE Procurement Monitoring Report 2012 </a>, 2nd Snapshot, p. 2
  122. <a href="#ref-ofe-procurement" class="ref">&#8617;</a></li>
  123. <li id="fn-daffara-estimate">Carlo Dafarra (2012): Estimating the Economic Contribution of Open Source Software to the European Economy. In: Shane Coughlan (ed.)(2012): <em>The First OpenForum Academy Conference Proceedings</em>, pp. 11-14
  124. <a href="#ref-daffara-estimate" class="ref">&#8617;</a></li>
  125. </ol>
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  127. <h2>Related News</h2>
  128. <fetch-news />
  129. </body>
  130. <sidebar promo="our-work">
  131. <!-- FIXME: add related links to FSFE work & publications here -->
  132. <h2>Publications</h2>
  133. <dynamic-content />
  134. <ul>
  135. <li><a href="">Submission to UK Open Standards Proposal 2014</a></li>
  136. <li><a href="">Public Procurement: Free Software's wild
  137. frontier</a> [pdf] (Karsten Gerloff, 2013) is a detailed discussion of procurement practices and policies. </li>
  138. <li><a href="">Submission to UK Open Standards Consultation 2012</a></li>
  139. <li><a href="">Executive summary and analysis of the Helsinki City and OpenOffice case in 2010-2011</a></li>
  140. <li><a href="">Contribution to the EC public consultation on the modernisation of EU public procurement policy</a></li>
  141. <!-- FIXME: add more links to FSFE work & publications here -->
  142. </ul>
  143. <h2>Ongoing Campaigns</h2>
  144. <ul>
  145. <li><a href="">Campaign, Unlocking the Dutch educational system </a></li>
  146. <li><a href="">Document Freedom Day</a></li>
  147. <li><a href=""></a></li>
  148. </ul>
  149. <h2>Blog entries</h2>
  150. <ul>
  151. <li><a href="">European Parliament to report on own use of Free Software</a></li>
  152. <li><a href="">Helping the European Parliament to release its own Free Software</a></li>
  153. <li><a href="">
  154. The European Commission’s locked-in syndrome</a></li>
  155. <li><a href=""> European Commission still in denial on vendor lock-in</a></li>
  156. <li><a href="">"An emerging understanding of Open Standards"</a> by Georg Greve</li>
  157. </ul>
  158. <h2>External links of interest</h2>
  159. <ul>
  160. <li><a href="">ODF Alliance</a></li>
  161. <li><a href="">Play Ogg!</a></li>
  162. <li><a
  163. href="">"Open
  164. Documents and Democracy"</a> by Laura de Nardis and Eric Tam, Yale Information Society Project</li>
  165. <li><a href="">"An Economic Basis for Open Standards"</a> by Rishab A. Ghosh</li>
  166. <li><a href="">Open Forum Europe, procurement work</a></li>
  167. </ul>
  168. </sidebar>
  169. <timestamp>$Date: 2013-11-26 14:38:52 +0100 (Tue, 26 Nov 2013) $ $Author: max.mehl $</timestamp>
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