November 2, 2004

Dutch EU Presidency holds Open Source in Government conference

Author: Rishab Aiyer Ghosh

The conference "Open Standards and Libre Software in Government" is organised by MERIT in coordination with the Dutch Presidency of the European Union, on November 18, 2004 in The Hague, The Netherlands. It is supported by the European Commission, Dutch Ministries of Economic Affairs and of the Interior, and the Dutch Government's OSOSS Programma.This conference will be held at the same venue as and immediately after the IST 2004 Event organised by the European Union on 15-17 November, which is the biggest event of the European ICT calendar.

Open standards and Free/Libre/Open Source software are of critical importance to governments across Europe. This importance is reflected by the keynote speakers at the November event: Frans Nauta, Secretary of the Innovation Platform chaired by the Dutch Prime Minister, and Colm Butler, director of information society policy for the department of the Irish Prime Minister.

The conference will focus on successful implementations and policies on open source in EU-level, national, local and regional government. There will be a presentation of the German Federal Government's Migration Guide and the EU Regional Innovation award-winning policies of Extremadura, Spain from Regional Minister Luis Millan Vazquez de Miguel. There will also be a discussion of EU policies on interoperability and open standards, with speakers from the European Commission.

The other speakers are mainly from ministries and governments across Europe. The Danish Ministry of Science will present a study of Total Cost of Ownership comparing open source to proprietary software in Danish public administrations. The French Economics ministry will present the large migration of over 100 000 desktops to OpenOffice in the French Administration; the German Foreign Ministry will give a live demo of the fully open source system that secures the global German embassy network. The vice-mayor of The Hague, and representatives from government authorities in Vienna, London, Haarlem and the Union of Italian Provinces will describe their open source experiences and future plans.

The conference language is English. Participation is free and registration is required at the conference website,

Several EU countries have announced proactive policies on open source, and the European Commission itself has funded a number of open source studies, and software development projects. The EC unit IDA (Interchange of Data between Administrations) has published a migration guide for open source (, and runs the Open Source Observatory (, which provides several weekly news stories on open source in government as well as regular case studies and other information.


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