Open source database company Ingres has held Hungary up as an example to the UK and other European countries of how government should be championing the use of non-proprietary software in the public sector.
But some Hungarian experts have pointed out that while the central European country has made progress when it comes to allowing open source players to compete on the same terms as proprietary companies, there is still a long way to go before the Magyars could be held up as leaders on open source.
In a statement released this week, Ingres announced that it will be teaming up with Hungarian IT specialist FreeSoft which presents itself as the head of a consortium that won the “Hungarian government’s open source software tender that has a four-year, $22.3 million budget”. Commenting on what it sees as Hungary’s progressive attitude to open source, Roger Burkhardt, chief executive of Ingres said that Hungary should be seen as an example to other European governments.
“This is one of the largest open source procurements I have seen and we applaud the Hungarian Government for leading the way in introducing competition and cutting back on proprietary software purchases,” said Roger Burkhardt, chief executive of Ingres. “In my opinion, the Hungarian Government is showing the European Union that there is plenty of open source competition in the market today. I anticipate that more government bodies than before will be following Hungary’s lead and will benefit from the cost savings that come with an open source deployment.”
But other players in the open source tendering process in Hungary have pointed out that two other consortia also “won” in the process and that it only allows open source players to be included in a centralised IT tendering framework, rather than being an actual commitment on the part of the Hungarian government to spend $22.3 million (£13.7m) on open source.
“This 4 billion forints (£13.7m) framework was awarded to seven vendors (three consortiums, one of them led by ULX and one by Freesoft) back in August to share the right to supply under the framework agreement. We have to remember though that it is only a framework that can be spent on open source within the public sector, the government is not paying for it, those organisations will have to make that decision individually and work out the budget for any open source migration,” said Gábor Szentiványi, chief executive of Hungarian open source integrator and Red Hat partner ULX.
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