The Dutch prime minister and the office of the Irish prime minister have urged other European governments to consider open source software in the spirit of "inter-agency collaboration".
Backing for open source came at the Open Standards and Libre Software in Government conference held in co-ordination with the Dutch Presidency of the European Union in The Hague yesterday, when the European Commission launched its definition of open standards.
The event was also marked by several representatives of EU ministries announcing major national open source and free software efforts.
Open standards and open source software is of critical importance to governments across Europe, according to the event's keynote speakers.
Colm Butler, director of information society policy for the department of the Irish prime minister, urged the open source community to make technical matters easier to understand for decision makers.
Frans Nauta, secretary of the innovation platform chaired by the Dutch prime minister, emphasised the need for collaboration between governments and citizens, and lauded the open source movement as a model for open co-operation.
In the conference session on interoperability and open standards, Barbara Held, from the European Commission's Interchange of Data between Administrations unit, announced the EU's definition of open standards, which require the royalty-free licensing of any applicable patents, and prohibit any restrictions on the reuse of open standards.
Among other speakers at the event, Christian Hardy, from the French ministry of finance, provided details of a large migration of over 100,000 desktops to OpenOffice, the free software alternative to Microsoft Office, across the national French administration.
The open source momentum continued with Rolf Theodor Schuster, CIO at the German foreign ministry, presenting a live demonstration of the fully open source desktop and server system that secures the global German embassy network.
Additionally, the vice-mayor of The Hague, and representatives from government authorities in Vienna, London, Haarlem and the Union of Italian Provinces, used the conference to describe their open source experiences and future plans.
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