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<title>FSFE: Bolzano, please don't waste your money</title>
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<h1>Bolzano, please don't waste your money</h1>
<h2>FSFE supports open letter from LUGBZ to Province of South Tyrol</h2>
<p>Dear Minister Roberto Bizzo,<br/><br/>
On 25 May 2010 the regional government authority of
Bolzano decided to spend 2.2 million EUR over the next three years to
renew software licenses from Microsoft Ireland, and to buy additional
licenses. All this was done without a public call for tender, making it
impossible for competing suppliers of similar software to make offers of
their own.</p>
<p>We ask you to rethink this decision. It will influence your strategic
position over a much longer time frame than the three years for which
the licenses will last.</p>
<p>The European Commission’s vice president <a
href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=SPEECH/10/300&amp;format=HTML&amp;aged=0&amp;language=EN&amp;guiLanguage=en">Neelie
Kroes said on June 13 2010 in Brussels</a>:</p>
<blockquote><p>“Many authorities have found themselves unintentionally
locked into proprietary technology for decades. After a certain point
that original choice becomes so ingrained that alternatives risk being
systematically ignored, no matter what the potential benefits. This is
a waste of public money that most public bodies can no longer
afford.”</p></blockquote>
<p>With your decision to buy Microsoft Sharepoint and Microsoft
Office communication server software without evaluating Free
Software alternatives you will increase your organisation's
dependence on Microsoft. You will take your IT systems further
down the one-way street of proprietary formats and proprietary
software, locking in your organisation's own data along with that
of the citizens of Bolzano.</p>
<p>You are also running the risk of accusations about the improper
handling about procurement processes. The <a
href="http://www.eweekeurope.co.uk/news/news-solutions-applications/red-hat-sues-switzerland-over-microsoft-monopoly-963">
protracted lawsuit against the Swiss Federal Administration</a>, which
is still ongoing, provides an example of the possible legal
consequences.</p>
<p>The decisions you are making today will have an impact for the
years to come. Breaking out of the lock-in will only become more
expensive over time, as you risk turning more of your valuable
data into digital toxic waste.</p>
<p>Rather than throw good money after bad, we ask you to step back from
your deal with Microsoft, and issue a public call for tender open to all
suppliers. When making a choice about the future solution for your
organisation, we urge you to consider the strategic freedom which Free
Software, Open Standards and open file formats provide, rather than
deepening your dependence on a single vendor.</p>
<p>You might also wish to investigate the opportunities that such a
strategy would provide for local businesses in the province of
Bolzano-Bozen, which has successfully turned itself into a Free
Software hub.</p>
<p>In the interest of the citizens of Bolzano-Bozen, we urge you to
accept the <a href="http://www.lugbz.org/news-categories/general-news/LetteraAperta/view?set_language=it">offer of a dialogue extended to you by local Free
Software experts at the GNU/Linux User Group Bolzano (LUGBZ)</a> and
the Free Software Foundation Europe. We stand ready to advise you
on your strategic options in software procurement, and discuss the
opportunities afforded by Free Software and Open Standards. </p>
<p>Sincerely,<br />
Karsten Gerloff </p>
<p>President, <br />
Free Software Foundation Europe <br />
https://fsfe.org</p>
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