Rapidly Increasing Acceptance of 'Open Source' Software by EU Nations

The news just keeps coming about the widespread acceptance and increasingly rapid deployment and use of 'open source' software solutions by local and national government agencies across the Euriopean Union (EU). Federal, state, and local government agencies in the U.S. might want to pay close attention.

A sample of some of the most recent news about 'open source' and eHealth in Europe over the past month include the following stories:

  • Hospitals eyeing open source patient record system  - Hospitals in the United Kingdom (UK) are showing interest in the open source patient record system OpenEyes, developed at the Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. OpenEyes is a web-based patient records system for ophthalmology, providing clinicians with one place for all the information they need about their patient.
  • Parliament in Spain's Andalusia unanimously for open source  - The parliament of Spain's autonomous region of Andalusia passed a unanimous resolution urging the region's government to switch to free and open source software (FOSS). The parliament wants the region to use open source solutions to increase intergovernmental co-operation and information exchange. The resolution also calls on the region's administration to avoid as much as possible the use of proprietary products that risk creating monopolies, increasing costs and IT security hazards.
  • French Agriculture ministry contributes to BI solution  - France's ministry of Agriculture has funded the development of an open source plug-in for Pentaho, an open source business intelligence (BI) solution. The plug-in enables users to upload and download a variety of office documents. After comparing several open source BI solutions, the ministry selected Pentaho, based on the available features, integration in the existing IT systems at the ministry, price, and other factors.
  • DCAT-AP mentioned in Swedish National Open Data Framework  - The Swedish national framework for open data consists of guidelines and practical advice to local governments concerning open data. The framework is designed to support local governments in making information available for companies, organizations and individuals.  The guiding principles create a uniform approach to assist in the collaboration between those who provide data and those who reuse it in order to increase the value of open data. The framework is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribute License.
  • New German government to encourage open source  - Germany's upcoming government coalition of CDU, CSU and SPD is going to encourage the use of open source software in public administrations. The government describes open source is an alternative to 'closed digital ecosystems' and says it will commit itself to open source at a European level. Open source software allows sharing and re-use of results and solutions, the government explains.
  • Two hundred ways to switch an EC Directorate to open source  - Last week Friday, the European Commission (EC) received some two hundred studies, outlining plans for switching its Directorates General to open source software solutions on servers as well as desktops.
  • European examples make case for open source in Vietnam  - Vietnam's ministries, provincial administrations and municipalities are turning to free and open source software (FOSS), building on European policies and examples. concrete software solutions. AVietnamese delegation, including representatives from the Ministry of Science & Technology, met with the European Commission's ISA Programme last month to discuss preliminary ideas on co-operation. The Ministry is building Openroad, a platform to help Vietnam's public administrations share and re-use their ICT solutions.
  • Swiss Lausanne piloting open source desktops  - Lausanne, Switzerland's fourth-largest city, is considering a switch to open source desktop PCs. Free and open source software is becoming more mature, user-friendly, and compatible with other environments.
  • Italy finalising guide for comparing open and closed source  - The Agenzia per l'Italia Digitale (AGID) is finalising its recommendations on how to best compare open source and proprietary software solutions. The Agency will soon publish the criteria and a guideline written by an expert committee.
  • Dutch cyber security centre: Linux suitable for businesses  - The Dutch government's cyber security centre says that Linux is suitable for business users, as well as for personal use. It points to the Ubuntu or Red Hat open source distributions as a viable alternative for those that are currently using a decade-old proprietary operating system.
  • Flemish waste management: 'Open source provides flexibility'  - The Flemish government's agency for waste management says that its decade-long practice of using open source wherever possible, created a flexible and open IT system, allowing it to swap software components 'relatively easily'. Next to the financial gains, open source allows the IT department to fit applications to the needs of the agency. "It keeps our IT system versatile and our IT staffers multi-talented."
  • Polish high school: Linux PCs 'faster and cheaper'  - The Zolnierzy Sybiru high school in the Polish city of Lubawka says that switching school PCs to Linux has made them faster, while saving money otherwise spent on licences for proprietary software, reports FWIOO, the foundation for Free and Open Source Software.

To read the latest news on 'Open Source' and eHealth activities in Europe, check out these two key European Union (EU) news sites - Joinup and eHealthNews.EU   

  • Joinup is a collaborative platform created by the European Commission offering services aimed at helping e-Government professionals share their experience with interoperability  and open source solutions.  
  • eHealthNews.EU is the leader in coverage of the top European eHealth industry, research and conference news.