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2008.12.02

Sound-Bytes from the Open World Forum

I'm currently attending the Open World Forum taking place in Paris. The conference is proving extremely interesting with many notables, like, Jim Whitehurst the president and CEO of Red Hat and Mike Milinkovich the executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, talking and exchanging opinions. Many of the discussions are too cerebral to be effectively blogged, but here are some sound-bytes I noted down from the session on public policies to promote sustainable development of shared resources.

David Hammerstein, Member of the European Parliament
  • There is a big problem on the technological choices of European bodies. A talk he was giving yesterday at the European Parliament on standards was getting streamed, but in a format that was only accessible to those using Microsoft's platform. The European Commission's response to his complaint (many of his constituents in Extremadura are using open source software platforms) was that those who wanted his speech could ask for it and it would be mailed to them as text.
  • Along Europe more than 25% of IT public procurement contracts mention the name of a specific firm, against all notions of fairness and technological neutrality. Amazingly, he came across a public procurement specification in the Czech Republic that mentioned the name of a specific firm 75 times.
  • David Hammerstein noted that times are changing. Returning from the US he found that there is a lot of discussion regarding a change in the intellectual property rights (IPR) regime and solving problems like those created by the patent trolls. He feels that in the IPR area Europe is becoming more papist than the Pope.
Nnenna Nwakanma. Chair of FOSSFA council and Vice President of the Digital Solidarity Fund, OSI board member.
  • Commenting on the preceding discussion about public procurement policies she mentioned that in the African context, the key word was public; in Africa procurement is seldom a public process.
  • African countries discussing open standards and making technology-neutral choices are the same ones that make efforts towards democracy and good governance.
  • Most of the technological infrastructure in Africa is open source, but the leaders don't know it. The technology people just want to get their work done, and keep a low profile.
  • The key issue for Africa is to fight for technological independence in the same way as people fought for political independence.

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Unless otherwise expressly stated, all original material on this page created by Diomidis Spinellis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Greece License.