Going Dutch

Just how cool can they get? Our Dutch compatriots are once again leading the way:

The Dutch government has set a soft deadline of April 2008 for its agencies to start using open-source software — freely distributed programs that anyone can modify — the Netherlands Economic Affairs Ministry said Thursday.

Government organisations will still be able to use proprietary software and formats but will have to justify it under the new policy, ministry spokesman Edwin van Scherrenburg said.

Van Scherrenburg said the plan was approved UNANIMOUSLY at a meeting of two parliamentary commissions on Wednesday.

[Emphasis mine]

Now there’s a marvellous announcement. I’m especially heartened by that UNANIMOUS vote. That can only mean one thing; the Dutch government have not been bought by Microsoft – unlike our own shady group of American puppets who still seem to be living in the dark ages and are apparently ignorant of the benefits (or even the availability) of Open Source Software.

There is some good humour in the announcement too – from the Redmond based owner of much of the world’s Intellectual Monopoly:

… he said the company [Microsoft] was worried about and opposed other aspects of the Dutch policy, especially the provision that agencies should prefer open source.

“We think it’s not in the best interest of the wider software market to single out one model for endorsement like this,” he said.

HUH? What is the “wider software market” he is referring to? Oh, of course it’s theirs… What complete twaddle. Why can’t they just say ‘we don’t like it because we are going to lose business’. Or even better, make improved products that compete on a level playing field? Why spin their message with such meaningless drivel that it only exacerbates our bad opinion of them?

Open Source encourages competition and is inherently free of the encumbrances which lead to the closed and non-innovative scenario of Intellectual Monopoly. No one is saying they MUST use OpenOffice.org, or KOffice or Symphony, or even Google Apps. They are specifying Open Source so that the tax paying public are not restricted in the way they can communicate with their Government by having to use proprietary, expensive and patent encumbered software products.

Ik wens alle Nederlandse volk een heel prettige kerstdagen en een Happy New Year!

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