DSM Announcements – Time to Seek Clarification?

09 May 2016

Author: Graham Taylor

Now that the dust has settled down on the DSM package of announcements it is timely to measure them up against the acid test of ‘leadership’ that I focussed on in my last blogpost.

Sorry but its generally a no.

That doesn’t mean to say we don’t agree with the objectives of each of the Communications – indeed quite the opposite. The direction of the DSM is strong, the intent is strong but somehow mainly each of them delivered a lacklustre performance.

The Communication on Cloud wasn’t really about their plans for Cloud- it was about supporting Open Science through the development of a European Cloud infrastructure and worryingly was vague on how it might develop ‘over time’ from being fundamentally for scientific and academic users, ‘to government and business users’. The concept of a (protected) European Cloud was much vaunted (and dismissed) a couple of years ago, so was this just loose language or a new proposal? Many had expected that the Communication would have confirmed how the past good work of the C-SIGs would be carried forward and how the new priorities would be worked on.

The ICT Standardisation Prioritisation started well enough and the priorities selected had been widely debated through the full stakeholder community and had already gained full support. So it was disappointing to see that in the last rounds of preparation a new paragraph had been added offering what has been seen as full support for FRAND, to the detriment of Open Source. Actually investigation suggests it was written solely in the context of improving its use in SDOs where it remains prevalent. But this was not made clear and building on the concerns on similar language remaining in the latest draft of the EIF (now out for Consultation) it is hardly surprising that the open source communities, market players building solutions on the back of open standards, have objected strongly and vociferously. What a shame that the prime focus of the Communication has been caught up in this debate, particularly since the very next day Commissioner Oettinger delivered a barnstorming speech (showing real leadership) identifying Open Service Platforms as a priority and identifying ‘that industry friendly open source licences become the norm’. No wonder there is confusion on the intentions of the Commission, if there exists lack of consistency both across DGs and within the same DG. Today OFE has written to Vice President Ansip and Commissioners Oettinger and Bieńkowska expressing concern on the impact caused by conflicting language and suggesting that a clear position needs to be set if the Commission is to retain the credibility and trust of the community and market. All OFE letters are openly available in our Library and this one can be seen here.

Picture under CC by Stefan Lindegaard