Despite Financial Destruction, Greece Not Favoring Open Source Software

from the all-inclusive dept

As you may have heard, Greece isn't having the best fiscal time of things these days. Oddly, as Glyn Moody noted previously, such dire straits haven't really gotten the country to focus on the important things when it comes to the internet and technology. Now, unless a few open source software groups get their way, it appears that the country with money problems will once again turn a blind eye to open source software in upcoming government purchases.
The ministry published a request for tender in November, seeking suppliers of 26,400 laptops, 1760 servers and 1760 wifi access routers. The value of the contract is set at just over 15 million euro. The purchase will be partly financed by the European Regional Development Fund. The ministry is asking for laptops and servers that can run either a ubiquitous proprietary operating system or Linux. But, say the Greek Linux User Group (Greeklug) and Eel/lak, a Greek open source advocacy organisation founded by 25 universities and research centres, the technical requirements clearly favour proprietary solutions over open source. "The specification is a copy of the proprietary vendor's e-mail and office software."
As someone who gets to deal with government bid contracts, I can assure you that this is extremely common. It's often the case that these kind of request for bids begin with an end product in mind and then develop the bid language to conform to that product. For anyone who wants to actually put together their own effective solution for consideration, it's incredibly annoying. But for a country with the kind of money problems that would make a homeless guy with an addiction to gambling on crack consumption laugh, to linguistically exclude an open source and less expensive software option is simply dumb.

Unfortunately, Greeklug and Eel/lak aren't expecting the Greek government to listen, so they may have to take their complaints elsewhere.
Both are also appealing to the European Commission, hoping that Commissioner for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes and Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn will pressure the ministry to correct the tender request. "To give free and open source a fair chance, the technical specification will have to be improved", the groups plead.
We'll see if that route works. Regardless, to have money trouble and not consider open source software is just plain irresponsible.
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Filed Under: greece, open source


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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 9 Jan 2013 @ 5:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "For many people that is a car payment or a weeks vacation for the family"

    Yeah exactly. It seems trivial, and if you can afford it and it makes you happy, go for it. You earned it - enjoy. The problems come when you start complaining about not being able to make the payment or afford the holiday, but also won't evaluate expenses like the Starbucks because they're "too trivial" or "make you happy".

    You'd probably be happier with the holiday, and spending money you can't afford just because it's easier or makes you feel better for 20 minutes is a dangerous trap to fall into. It might seem silly, but in the long term it can make a difference - just as Greece making intelligent decisions with long term effects on their IT infrastructure costs might, even if it's not the major problem they're facing.

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