Moreover, the Commission also stated that existing open source alternatives have severe limitations in terms of functionalities like multilingualism and often lack proper support and service. "The lack of choice is almost total as regards the desktop operating system and productivity tools," it wrote in January, adding that mature alternatives do exist in areas such as email and social and collaborative tools.
Many governments and other public bodies use of free software for their desktop and office productivity needs, noted Gerloff.
"Anyone approaching today's software market with an open mind will find quite a lot of choice when it comes to desktop and office productivity. It seems that the Commission either did not assess the market at all, or that they had settled on a specific outcome from the start," he said, adding that the groups want to see the market analysis on which the Commission based its January statement. The document released by Andersdotter raises another serious concern, Gerloff said. "It claims that the Commission is consolidating its document management system on Microsoft Sharepoint. The document even acknowledges that this will make their lock-in worse. But the [Commission] is apparently happy to steer blindly into this abyss," he said.
The Commission should set an example for public administrations throughout Europe, the groups said.
It should make open standards its default choice for document formats, Gerloff said. "If anyone has the mass to move the needle on this issue, it's the [Commission]."
Sign up for MIS Asia eNewsletters.