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  1. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
  2. <html>
  3. <version>1</version>
  4. <head>
  5. <title>Public Procurement - Overview</title>
  6. </head>
  7. <body class="article" microformats="h-entry">
  8. <p id="category">
  9. <a href="/freesoftware/freesoftware.html">Free Software</a>
  10. </p>
  11. <h1 class="p-name">Public procurement</h1>
  12. <div class="e-content">
  13. <div class="p-summary">
  14. <!--What's this class background? Where does it come from? Please don't put random classes-->
  15. <p>
  16. <a href="/freesoftware/basics/4freedoms.en.html">Free Software</a>
  17. is a perfect fit for the public sector. It is a public resource that
  18. government organisations can use, study, improve, and share with
  19. each other. For citizens, this means transparency, cost efficiency,
  20. and the freedom to interact with their government in the way that
  21. suits them best.
  22. </p>
  23. <p>
  24. But not all government institutions are taking advantage of Free
  25. Software. In consequence, public funds are being wasted, and
  26. programs that should be free are being locked away. This
  27. also makes life hard for the Free Software-based companies who
  28. employ people in Europe, and pay their taxes here.
  29. </p>
  30. </div>
  31. <h2>FSFE explains the problem</h2>
  32. <p>
  33. Procurement is a field for specialists. Many procurement officials are
  34. still not fully aware of Free Software. Combined with inertia in
  35. public sector IT departments, this means that too many public bodies
  36. never look beyond their long-standing relations with suppliers of
  37. non-free software.
  38. </p>
  39. <p>
  40. At FSFE, we work with journalists and researchers to highlight the
  41. work of public sector organisations that are doing it right. When a
  42. public body makes mistakes, we help them to correct them. And when
  43. necessary, we put pressure on organisations that insist on harmful
  44. ways of purchasing software.
  45. </p>
  46. <h2>Why procurement matters </h2>
  47. <p>
  48. 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
  49. public sector's procurement choices have very real effects on the
  50. economy, and play a significant role in determining the sort of firms
  51. that thrive in the market.
  52. Even with current procurement practices, Free Software already
  53. delivers very significant benefits for the European economy. Daffara
  54. (2012) estimates that Europeans enjoy 114 billion EUR per year in
  55. 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%.
  56. </p>
  57. <p>
  58. The public sector's buying decisions also has a significant influence
  59. on the development of a healthy supplier ecosystem for Free Software
  60. products and services. With more government institutions as their
  61. customers, many such companies could thrive more quickly, and there
  62. would be more and better Free Software programs available to the
  63. public.
  64. </p>
  65. <h2>FSFE speaks up when things go wrong...</h2>
  66. <p>
  67. In 2010, the European Commission made <a href="/news/2010/news-20101207-01.en.html">a glaring mistake</a>. The
  68. Commission had issued numerous policy statements in favour of Free
  69. Software and Open Standards. But when it came to buying software and
  70. services for itself, it went straight to Microsoft and its
  71. resellers. Companies offering Free Software never had a chance, even
  72. though their products offered the same functionality.
  73. </p>
  74. <p>
  75. We saw that the Commission had certainly breached the spirit, if not
  76. the letter, of the law. So we took them to task, generating lots of
  77. press coverage - right up to the New York Times.
  78. </p>
  79. <p>
  80. We want the European Commission to procure
  81. the software products it needs in an open, competitive fashion,
  82. giving Free Software suppliers the same opportunities as it gives
  83. to proprietary vendors and their resellers.
  84. </p>
  85. <p>
  86. We want the EC to take a long-term view of its IT strategy,
  87. realise the dangers of lock-in, and figure future exit costs into
  88. the price of any solution it acquires.
  89. </p>
  90. <p>
  91. This is what the Commission owes to Europe's citizens. Sticking to
  92. the letter and spirit of European procurement law would be an
  93. excellent start.
  94. </p>
  95. <h2>…and offers independent solutions</h2>
  96. <p>
  97. Fortunately, most people are more open to progress than that.
  98. We help procurement officials understand the full impact of
  99. their actions, and we help them to do better -- not only for
  100. their organisations, but also for the citizens whom they serve.
  101. </p>
  102. <p>
  103. At FSFE, we are in constant dialogues with procurement
  104. specialists across Europe. We observe new approaches, identify
  105. what works, and <a href="/news/2011/news-20110418-01.en.html">provide analysis</a> to decision makers. We help
  106. specialists in different countries learn from each other.
  107. </p>
  108. <p>
  109. To speed up change at the ground level, we also work with
  110. national governments to help them draft policies that promote
  111. Free Software adoption. In January 2014, Italy introduced <a href="/news/2014/news-20140116-01.en.html">a rule
  112. requiring public bodies to first evaluate Free Software before
  113. buying non-free solutions</a>. FSFE's General Counsel Carlo Piana
  114. was part of the expert committee installed by the government to
  115. design this rule, alongside participants from all sectors of the
  116. software market.
  117. </p>
  118. <p>
  119. This is the sort of change that FSFE helps to create. Please
  120. <a href="">support us</a> in this effort.
  121. </p>
  122. <h2 id="fn">Footnotes</h2>
  123. <ol>
  124. <li id="fn-ofe-procurement">Open Forum Europe (2013): <a href="">OFE Procurement Monitoring Report 2012 </a>, 2nd Snapshot, p. 2
  125. <a href="#ref-ofe-procurement" class="ref">&#8617;</a></li>
  126. <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
  127. <a href="#ref-daffara-estimate" class="ref">&#8617;</a></li>
  128. </ol>
  129. </div><!--/e-content-->
  130. <related-feed tag="procurement"/>
  131. </body>
  132. <sidebar promo="our-work">
  133. <!-- FIXME: add related links to FSFE work & publications here -->
  134. <h2>Publications</h2>
  135. <ul>
  136. <li><a href="/freesoftware/standards/2014-02-uk-consultation-os.en.html">Submission to UK Open Standards Proposal 2014</a></li>
  137. <li><a href="">Public Procurement: Free Software's wild
  138. frontier</a> [pdf] (Karsten Gerloff, 2013) is a detailed discussion of procurement practices and policies. </li>
  139. <li><a href="/freesoftware/standards/2012-06-uk-consultation-os.en.html">Submission to UK Open Standards Consultation 2012</a></li>
  140. <li><a href="/news/2012/news-20120412-02.en.html">Executive summary and analysis of the Helsinki City and OpenOffice case in 2010-2011</a></li>
  141. <li><a href="">Contribution to the EC public consultation on the modernisation of EU public procurement policy</a></li>
  142. <!-- FIXME: add more links to FSFE work & publications here -->
  143. </ul>
  144. <h2>Ongoing Campaigns</h2>
  145. <ul>
  146. <li><a href="/activities/nledu/nledu.en.html">Campaign, Unlocking the Dutch educational system </a></li>
  147. <li><a href="">Document Freedom Day</a></li>
  148. <li><a href=""></a></li>
  149. </ul>
  150. <h2>Blog entries</h2>
  151. <ul>
  152. <li><a href="">European Parliament to report on own use of Free Software</a></li>
  153. <li><a href="">Helping the European Parliament to release its own Free Software</a></li>
  154. <li><a href="">
  155. The European Commission’s locked-in syndrome</a></li>
  156. <li><a href=""> European Commission still in denial on vendor lock-in</a></li>
  157. <li><a href="">"An emerging understanding of Open Standards"</a> by Georg Greve</li>
  158. </ul>
  159. <h2>External links of interest</h2>
  160. <ul>
  161. <li><a href="">ODF Alliance</a></li>
  162. <li><a href="">Play Ogg!</a></li>
  163. <li><a
  164. href="">"Open
  165. Documents and Democracy"</a> by Laura de Nardis and Eric Tam, Yale Information Society Project</li>
  166. <li><a href="">"An Economic Basis for Open Standards"</a> by Rishab A. Ghosh</li>
  167. <li><a href="">Open Forum Europe, procurement work</a></li>
  168. </ul>
  169. </sidebar>
  170. </html>
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