EU Pushes for Open Source Software

European governments should promote open source software to increase competition in the European technology sector, the European Commission’s top antitrust chief Neelie Kroes said Tuesday.

“When open alternatives are available, no citizen or company should be forced or encouraged to use a particular company’s technology to access government information,” Commissioner Kroes said, speaking at an Open Forum Europe event.

The European Commission’s anti-trust police have already begun investigating the procedures that led to Microsoft’s OOXML document standard being approved by an international committee. Critics of OOXML claim it locks out competitors, giving Microsoft customers no choice but to keep buying Microsoft programs forever.

Now Brussels has said in no uncertain terms that open standards, like the open document format (odf) that threatens to unseat Microsoft as the chief architect of the world’s document housings, are best for business.

It might be acceptable for standard setting bodies to discuss the price of a particular technology in advance to fully understand the ramifications of including it in the standard, she said. That would mean companies trying to get their technology into a standard would be obliged to disclose the relevant patents and the maximum royalty rates the company would seek.

Source: CNNMoney

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