The new tenants of the government buildings, the PASOK socialist party regained power and promise to address -amongst all the other major issues - the issue of fairness and transparency in public administration. As part of their arsenal to tackle this problem, they propose an e-governance framework to reduce bureaucracy and assure fairness in the public sector hiring procedures, a major area where corruption has infiltrated over the years. It is also clear that there is a clear motion from PASOK's inner circles to use Free Open Source Software (FOSS) and utilize already existing Greek frameworks/communities for that effort (ΕΛΛΑΚ).
There is no doubt that the FOSS adoption will meet opposition from well established Microsoft shops that use to dominate the public sector IT purchase market (and the taxpayer's pocket). In short, I have the following recommendation for the Greek government (if they ever bother to listen)
- To follow/migrate to open source products in public administration not only on the desktop (Linux/Open Office) but also at the server end if possible. The cost benefits will be enormous, especially now that there is an active FOSS community.
- To start teaching actively FOSS issues and software in secondary education. It is completely unacceptable to have an IT/Computing cirriculum that mentions almost nothing about FOSS.
- Follow the paths of other countries (Netherlands, Norway) and making Open Document formats a standard for public services.
- In response to the opengov.gr effort, this is a first and is a very positive move. However, the timing of the effort (the expectations of people) shows that the backend pipelines are still not able to work properly. The end result is that thousands of CVs are on standby and technologies to filter them out still do not exist. This could backfire badly and derail the effort.