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[board-discuss] Seeking endorsement from the TDF Board for this Public appeal document

Good evening to all,

I would like to present to the TDF Board the following document which
was created and elaborated jointly by GreekLUG <> and
FSUG Italia <>.
Please take a moment to read:

The main idea is to launch this paper on the imminent Document Freedom
Day (28/3/2012).
It has been written as a Public Appeal to all the European Governments.
We invite them to immediately adopt Free Software, Open Standards and
/*in particular LibreOfiice*/, in all public administration PC workstations.

We would like to /_*request an official backing by the TDF*_,**_*with
approval for this paper*_/ (provided the document meets with everybody's

We have already received endorsement by the FTA and it is our intention
to seek official approval from the FSFE.
In such a way, it is obvious that the paper will acquire a whole new
impetus and an increased "specific gravity"......

We will be very happy if the TDF and the LibreOffice Community would be
prepared to offer their endorsement, but even this should not be
feasible, we would equally appreciate very much any input (suggestions,
or corrections) that you might propose for this text.

On behalf of both the GreekLUG Board and of FSUG Italia Board, we wish
to thank you all for your attention.

Constatine Mousafiris

/_*Open proposal/ Public appeal to all European Governments*_/:

Your Excellencies Prime Ministers and Heads of State of all European countries 

We, as European citizens, are living through an unprecedented period of
economic recession and a European debt crisis, in which some European
countries, have undoubtedly been involved quite deeply.

Over the last decade, a faulty budgeting for many public sector processes and ill-advised 
decisions, accounted for a great part of the problem. A grave mistake, in some countries, was the 
*choice to commit the state administration 
 *to a proprietary office productivity suite, known for its higher cost and conceding to a single 
company exclusionary procurement deals <>, 
i.e. the right to become the exclusive software supplier for all the Greek public administration, 
for a number of years.

However, we firmly believe that it is quite unacceptable for a government to make a formal 
commitment in favour of the exclusive use of software from one single supplier, leading to serious 
spending for the acquisition of thousands of licences of use, without any prior market search for 
alternative available solutions. But it is also morally unsound for a public administration to 
oblige its citizens to buy any specific proprietary word processor, so that they can see the public 
document files.

We, as supporters of Free Software, promote the *use of Open Standards* and the use of a free 
Office software suite, such as *LibreOffice*, that can be freely downloaded from the Web  and that 
can meet the needs of hundreds of thousands of PC workstations.

We, like many others around the world, support and promote the choice of
free software and open standards. Free software is software that you can
download, modify, adapt, and redistribute freely.
These features allow free software to dramatically reduce IT costs for
schools, offices and public administration as a whole. The adoption of
free software and open standards also ensures maximum transparency,
offers great benefits in terms of security to all the backoffice
“invisible” operations, it helps to achieve the interoperability goal
and allows an absolute disengagement from individual suppliers. The
choice of open standards is the best way to achieve the reduction of the
digital divide.

Due to the availability of its source code, free software can offer a
major advantage to all services in the public sector: Cooperation with
each country's local developers becomes a feasible proposition. The
state sector escapes, therefore, from the lock-in effect with
monopolistic suppliers, but can also give a healthy boost to the
development of the local software industry. Above all, the public
services can ask their local companies to either adapt an already
existing free software so that it matches their specific needs, or to
develop new functionalities altogether. Therefore, not only is it
possible to overcome any features eventually lacking, but it is also
feasible to maximize the end result at a very modest cost, given the
large scale of the public sector.

We should focus on the fact that the average use of a software, in the
context of public service, consists in text writing, web browsing,
creating spreadsheets or creating presentations and other similar
straightforward tasks. All these activities can be easily performed,
without incurring any additional costs, by using programs like Firefox
and LibreOffice. Despite this, it is not uncommon to see a waste of
public money, devolved to buying particularly expensive software in
order to carry out these simple tasks.

Your Excellencies Prime Ministers and Heads of State of all European countries,

*We are launching this public appeal to you, for an immediate adoption of Open Standards and  of 
the free software Office productivity suite LibreOffice, to take effect from the 1st June 2012, in 
ALL the public services, wherever this is possible. *

It is reasonable to expect that the process of migrating towards Free Software, in a complex 
institution such as a public administration of a State, can not be considered as a simple 
operation, nor can it be achieved overnight. 

*It is sufficient though that you demonstrate the necessary political will, by issuing clear 
guidelines to this direction*, so that the inherent problems of this migration process can be 
addressed with the help and support of FSFE and all the numerous other Free software based 
organisations and firms, all over Europe. It is a sensible way for cutting down on wastes of public 
money spending.

A similar move will be a first step towards great savings, but it will also have some other 
important side benefits, such as:


      get rid of the financial burden of the updates and renewals for additional licences of 
proprietary software, given that the updates for LibreOffice also come for free.


      The long-term use of the native file format generated by LibreOffice, as it is compliant with 
Open Standards.


      Guarantee of interoperability with all the other file formats (of both free and proprietary 
software) and, therefore, able to serve all  citizens.

At times like the ones we are experiencing, any unnecessary spending
will inevitably get interpreted as a grave insult by all European
citizens, who are already making heavy sacrifices.

In some cases, individual European countries have already switched to
free software, with numerous examples of remarkable success in terms of
efficiency and savings.

Given the current international situation, we consider the introduction
of Free Software and Open Standards, a moral, ethical, practical and
economical imperative for the whole of Europe.

Free Software User Group Italia (FSUG Italia <>)
Association of Greek Users and Friends of Free Software (GreekLUG 

(hoping for the support of: Free Software Foundation Europe <>  and of The 
Document Foundation <>)

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