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OpenForum Europe

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OpenForum Europe

OpenForum Europe or OFE is a European open source software advocacy group. Founded in 2002 it seeks to encourage the use of open source software among businesses, consumers and governments. OFE's role has since evolved and its primary role now is to promote the use of open standards in ICT as a means of achieving full openness and interoperability of computer systems throughout Europe. It continues to promote open source software, as well as openness more generally as part of a vision to facilitate open, competitive choice for IT users.

OFE is a registered interest group with the European Commission that devotes much of its time to explaining the merits of openness in computing to politicians and legislators across Europe.

OFE works closely with the European Commission, European Parliament, national and local governments both directly and via its national partners. It fully supports the European Commission's Digital Agenda, which aims to create a flourishing digital economy in Europe by 2020.

OFE maintains an ongoing dialogue with key decision makers. It participates actively in public consultations that concern the industry and often serves as an interlocutor between legislators and the wider open computing community. Once a year it hosts a Summit at which top European policymakers and thought leaders from the industry share their views about the importance of open computing. In 2010 Vice President Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda provided the keynote.

OFE corporate members are Google, IBM, Oracle, Red Hat and Deloitte. OFE has national partners from across Europe, representing many tens of thousands of SMEs. It also has a partnership with the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE)and collaborates with the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII). These are two of the leading free and open source software campaign groups in Europe. OFE also collaborates with the European Committee for Interoperable Systems (ECIS).

20 September 2007[1] - Speaking at the 4th EU Ministerial eGovernment conference in Lisbon, OFE Chief Executive Graham Taylor presented the Open Community response to the Ministerial Declaration, unanimously approved by the Ministers responsible for eGovernment on 19 September 2007. Invited to speak in the concluding session of the event, Mr Taylor welcomed the broad commitment demonstrated by participants throughout the conference to the use of Open Standards in government, and offered the support of the Open Community in implementing the targets outlined in the Declaration. This was the first time that the Open Community had been asked to respond formally to the Ministerial declaration, showing clearly the growing interest by the public sector in the solutions presented by Open Source and Open Standards. The declaration, cosigned by over 20 organisations representing the Open Source Community across the EU, supports the targets highlighted in the Ministerial Declaration, in particular: - Cross-border interoperability - Reduction of administrative burdens - Inclusive eGovernment - Transparency and Democratic engagement.

10 January 2008 - OpenForum Europe (OFE) welcomed[2] the publication by Becta, the education technology agency, of a major report on Microsoft Vista and Office 2007 and document interoperability. In the report, which analyses the suitability of both software packages for adoption by schools and colleges, Becta urges schools and colleges to avoid rushing into upgrades while strongly supporting and recommending free-to-use products and the Open Document Format (ODF). OFE calls on the UK Government to recognise Becta's conclusions and provide evidence of leadership in this crucial area.

25 February 2008 - in Geneva OpenForum Europe issued the following Declaration.[3] As members of the European Open Community participating in or supporting the OpenForum Europe Conference we pledge to maintain the openness and integrity of the Internet as enjoyed today. Furthermore we agree to continue to work to ensure that the role, definition, and application of Open Standards is not mitigated or limited by proprietary pressure. We believe it essential that these steps are matched by Government, through active support for such standards though appropriate frameworks, procurement policies and organisational remit.

6 March 2008[4] - At a time when the EU Commission investigates the anti-competitive behaviour of a market-dominant player, the European Parliament (EP) still imposes that same specific software choice on both the European Union's citizens and its own MEPs. OpenForum Europe, The European Software Market Association, and the Free Software Foundation Europe today launched a petition to call on the EP to use open standards so that all citizens can participate in the democratic process.

10 June 2008 - Commissioner Neelie Kroes speaks at OFE breakfast seminar on "Being open about standards"[5] in her opening remarks she stated "Credible competition policy requires competition law enforcement. Cartel cases, merger cases, abuse of dominance cases. But competition policy is not only about cases. It is about putting in place the conditions for companies to deliver better goods and services to consumers. So it must be informed by more than the individual cases. If markets are not delivering as they should, then I want to understand the problems, and find solutions. That may mean enforcement, advocacy, or specific Commission or national government policy initiatives. In technology markets, I think it means all three."

22 October 2008 - OpenForum Europe called on EU to crack down on public procurement practise for IT software.[6] OFE monitored public procurement notices for computer software published on Tenders Electronic Daily. 136 contact notices were scanned for trademarks in the period from February 1 to April 25, 2008. OFE's monitoring exercise shows that in 34 tender notices out of 136 (25 percent), company brand names were mentioned in procurement documents effectively preventing competition from alternative products.

16 December 2009 - EC Settlement[7] sends an Unambiguous Message to the Market – Lock-In is Dead. All in all, we should be pleased with today's achievements, which we expect to create real consumer benefits. But we must remain vigilant to continuing practices which might still undermine this "settlement" . We urge close surveillance of the present browser choice commitment and interoperability undertaking, but hope that Microsoft will now act proactively to remove other continuing concerns, such as those in respect of patents threats and office data formats.

28 January 2010 - Updated Government Action Plan for Open Source,Open Standards and Software Re-Use, part of the overall Government ICT Strategy. This is an essential next step in the implementation of Government Policy in this vital area. This Action Plan now requires suppliers to show they have considered Open Source and implements new accounting requirements to highlight the future costs of lock in. Graham Taylor, CEO, OpenForum Europe says:[8] “ We welcome the important clarifications that have been made to this Action Plan. OpenForum Europe will seek to support Government in achieving the objectives set out.

19 April 2010 - OpenForum Europe Congratulates[9] EU Ministers on Progressive Plan for Digital Agenda, Calls for Further Endorsement of Open Public Procurements. As an organisation focussed on supporting an open, competitive choice for the IT user, OpenForum Europe endorses the emphasis in the Declaration on 'openness'. “Europe will be best served if it spends less time looking backwards on preserving the status quo and current business practice, and more time on encouraging new opportunity and innovation”, stated Graham Taylor, OFE's CEO. The Declaration identifies a number of areas where strong leadership will be required. The need to protect a strong internet, with open access for all, will be fundamental to Europe's progress, as will embracement of new opportunities such as cloud computing. Equally the need for Europe to actively participate in standards setting within international fora, is strongly supported.

19 May 2010 - OpenForum Europe welcomes[10] the European Commission's Digital Agenda, and commends Vice President Neelie Kroes for her determined effort to build an open, competitive and innovative ICT market for the benefit of citizens and businesses in Europe. The Digital Agenda rightly focuses significant effort on fostering interoperability and openness, and on the development of the standardisation process. "The Commission is right to see the reform of information and communication technology (ICT) standardisation as an essential and urgent requirement," said OFE Chief Executive, Graham Taylor. Consumers, as well as the ICT industry will benefit from the plan to allow a wider range of organisations, including industry fora and consortia to decide what innovative technologies should be recognised as industry standards.

OFE is supported by major IT suppliers and works closely with the European Commission and National Governments both direct and via National Associates.

The organisation is actively involved in the discussion about the development of Open Document Format (ODF), an ISO standard for electronic documents.

OFE cooperates with Free Software Foundation Europe, the Linux Professional Institute LPI[11] as well as Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) and the ODF Alliance.[12]


The body has been criticised in 2003 by Bruce Perens for its stance on software patents.[13] This was rejected by OFE.[14] In 2010, Florian Müller accused OFE and its members of hypocrisy in connection with open standards, stating that they had been a "notorious fake representative of open source for many years."[15]

See also


  1. ^ "OFE Press Release - 4th Ministerial eGovernment Conference - Lisbon — Open Forum Europe". 2007-09-21. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  2. ^ "OFE Press Release - OFE welcomes BECTA Report promoting Open source and Open Standards and calls on UK Government for action — Open Forum Europe". 2008-01-14. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  3. ^ "Open Forum Europe". Open Forum Europe. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  4. ^ "OFE Press Release - New petition calls for open standards in the European Parliament — Open Forum Europe". Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  5. ^ "EUROPA - PRESS RELEASES - Press Release - Neelie Kroes European Commissioner for Competition PolicyBeing open about standards OpenForum Europe - Breakfast seminarBrussels, 10th June 2008". Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  6. ^ "OFE Press Release - OFE Calls on EU to Crack Down on Public Procurement Practice for IT Software — Open Forum Europe". 2008-10-22. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  7. ^ "OFE Release - The EC Settlement Sends an Unambiguous Message to the Market – Lock-In is Dead — Open Forum Europe". 2009-12-16. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  8. ^ "OFE Press Release - Government Action Plan for Open Source, Open Standards and Software Re-Use - Updated — Open Forum Europe". 2010-01-27. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  9. ^ "OFE Press Release - Ministerial Declaration on the Digital Agenda — Open Forum Europe". 2010-04-19. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  10. ^ "(OFE) welcomes the European Commission's Digital Agenda, and commends Vice President Neelie Kroes for her determined effort to build an open, competitive and innovative ICT market for the benefit of citizens and businesses in Europe. — Open Forum Europe". Openforum Europe. 2010-05-19. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  11. ^ "Linux Professional Institute". LPI. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  12. ^ "OpenDocument Format Alliance". Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  13. ^ "Open Source ‘representative’ calls for software patents". Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  14. ^ "OpenForum Europe rejects Perens charges". Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  15. ^ "Open source "advocates" accused of hypocrisy - The Big Four have double standards". TechEye. 2010-07-21. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 

External links

  • OpenForum Europe
  • Open Parliament - petition to use Open Standards in EU
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