December 19, 2003

Baseline survey outlines situation open standards and open source software within Dutch government

On behalf of Programma OSOSS the research institute MERIT has conducted a survey among ICT managers about the use of open standards and
open source software within governmental organisations. A total of 277 ICT managers from different organisations were involved at state, provincial
and municipal level.

Use of open standards within government
The survey clearly shows the dominant position of closed standards within offices. The ICT managers see clear advantages in using open standards
within the government especially with regard to the exchange of data. The accessibility of data in the future is guaranteed when using open standards
rather than closed standards. The survey also concluded that most ICT managers have difficulty with determining whether standards are open or closed.

Use of open source software within government
A surprising 85% of governmental organisations already has experience with open source software, which indicates that at least some open source
software is operational within these organisations. However, it is usually limited to incidental usage of applications like Linux, Apache and MySQL in
back office settings. A fair amount of the interviewees (55%) find it useful to expand the use of open source software within their organisation in
the future.

Support for a wider use of open source software obviously comes from the organisations that already work with it. Organisations that have no
experience with open source software tend to be less positive.

Without a doubt, the most important reason for choosing open source software is the dependency on suppliers, which is far too high according to 67% of
the interviewees. Another reason is cutting down on license costs which comprise a huge part of the budgets.



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