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15 August 2011, 15:00

Romanian government tender prohibits open source

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According to a report on, the EU's Open Source Observatory and Repository, an IT procurement tender issued by the Romanian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MAI) explicitly bans the use of open source software in any offer made in response. The tender concerns the development of an "Information System of Romanian Criminal Records (Rocris)", with a budget of approximately 2.85 million euros.

This development is directed towards the European Union's intention to establish, at a European level, an interoperable system to enable the exchange of information on the previous convictions of criminals. The Romanian ministry claims that it is this requirement for interoperability that has forced it to ban the use of software that is "published under a 'free software license' - GPL or similar".

OSOR quotes the ministry as saying that, despite the fact that it "administers GPL systems and encourages their use, for the time being all critical systems are implemented on Enterprise platforms, in order to be able to follow strict requirements for security and interoperability." The ministry also commented that its own internal policies had a bearing on the banning of open source software, because, for security reasons, those policies "prohibit the existence of the possibility to amend the source code". Interested parties have pointed out to the ministry that the principle of banning open source software is contrary to the guidelines of the European Union which encourages the use of open source and open standards.

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