The State could save around 80 million euros if it opted to use open source software, argues the Association of Portuguese Open Source Software Companies (ESOP), which proposes the adoption of this type of solutions «at a time when Parliament is evaluating the alternatives to spending cuts in the 2011 budget «.
The association says that according to data provided by the Directorate-General for Budget, in 2009 160 million euros were spent on «computer software», an expense that could be reduced by 50 to 70 percent (about 80 million euros) with the option for open source solutions, according to your calculations.
Operating systems for desktop, server database management systems and productivity tools for desktop these are three examples of areas where it would be possible to cut spending by about half.
According to ESOP, the migration to free software would also help to «improve the trade balance, with the replacement of external transfers inherent to licensing by investment in the national economy, in training and technical consultancy carried out by Portuguese companies».
The suggestion comes in the same direction as a proposal presented by the Left Bloc for the State Budget for 2011, which TeK spoke about last week: the adoption of free software in the Public Administration and the obligation to use open standards in all services of State.
Among the reasons pointed out by the blockers were also an «important financial fit» and the reduction of the State’s dependence on foreign companies (which supply much of the proprietary software used), rather boosting the Portuguese software market.
To support its suggestion, ESOP also highlights the examples of other European countries, which already use open source software in Public Administration, such as the Netherlands. The adoption of «an open software policy policy and preferential use of software open source «it is also not contrary to competition laws,» because it does not imply preference for brands or suppliers, it only indicates characteristics preferred by purchasing entities, «the Italian supreme court recently concluded.
The Portuguese AP’s «disrespect» has long been the target of criticism, even in September the issue had returned to the agenda by the hands of another of the associations that promote open source, National Association for Free Software (ANSOL), which asked for » a zero budget for software licenses «as a way to contribute» to the national cause of containing public expenditure «.