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Swedish Government Study Endorses Open Source

Statskontoret, the Swedish Agency for Public Management, has performed a feasibility study on free and open source software and has given a thumbs up to the use of free and open source software.

The purpose of the study, which was conducted with the cooperation of several Swedish government agencies, was to provide a guideline for how public administrations and agencies should relate to open source and free software.

The cross-government team running the study stated that "open software in many cases are equivalent to --or better than-- commercial products," according to a statement from Statskontoret. "Procurement of software shall therefore evaluate open software as well as commercial solutions, to provide better competition in the market."

The study, entitled "Öppen Programvara," cited that open standards, formats and software are important components to provide increased competition, improved interoperability, and reduced costs for the Swedish government.

The paper also ennumerated important steps for public agencies to use when selecting what open or free software they were going to use. These steps include pilot tests, formation of a procurement policy and general agreement, dissimination of information, and a definition of open standards and formats --particularly document formats. The study also included a model for how software developed by government agencies may be made open.

Input on the just-released paper came from a wide variety of goverment sources.

According to Statskontoret, the working group consisted of members from the Swedish National Labour Market Administration, Swedish Armed Forces, University of Linköping, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, Region of Western Götaland, National Police Board, Swedish National Tax Board, National Veterinary Institute of Sweden, Stockholm County Council, and Swedish National Road Administration.

The study, originally available in Swedish (http://www.statskontoret.se/op), is now also available in English (http://www.statskontoret.se/pdf/200308eng.pdf). or here  [ .pdf - 93 KB ].

Information: Linux Today