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[News] Good Progress on Free Software in Governments Across Europe

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IT: Small open source grants involve public bodies and schools 

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| Small grants can jump-start open source development projects that are useful 
| for public administrations and schools and universities, a grant program in 
| Italy's Umbria region shows.  
| The grant program of Umbria's open source competence centre (CCOS) in 2008 
| approved 46 software development projects, out of 82 submitted. CCOS donated 
| in total 235.000 euro.  
| Of these 46 projects, 22 resulted in software to be used by schools in the 
| region and 9 created applications for public administrations. 


HU: Companies puzzled over government's open source plan 

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| Hungarian open source service providers are anxious to see the details of the 
| government's request for open source that it announced last week. "How is the 
| government going to procure software that usually is available for free?"  
| The deputy state secretary for IT and e-Government Baja Ferenc announced last 
| Thursday that the Hungarian government is going to increase its use of open 
| source software. He said the government will make 12 billion HUF (close to 41 
| million euro) available for open source. The tender will be published in a 
| few weeks' time.    



Hungarian government goes 50 per cent open source

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| The Hungarian government has announced that it will be modifying procurement
| rules to allow open source to be used in public sector organisations.
| Previously, procurement rules had apparently named vendors such as Microsoft
| and Novell. The new rules, according to Ferenc Baja, deputy minister for
| information technology, will allocate the same amount of money to acquiring
| open source products as to proprietary products. The move was announced at a
| press conference on April 2nd.


HU: Government withdraws tender requesting proprietary software

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| The Hungarian Central Board for Services, the country's public procurement
| authority, this Tuesday withdrew a tender requesting Microsoft and Novell
| software, worth 25 billion HUF (about 100 million euro). The organisation did
| not provide an explanation.


HU: Hearing on Competition Office complaint over Microsoft deal

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| The Metropolitan Court's (Fővárosi Bíróság) second hearing on a complaint by
| Hungary's Competition Office over a government software tender
| requesting "Microsoft or equivalent solutions" is scheduled for 1 September,
| the Hungarian IT news site IT Cafe reports.
| The Competition Office in March decided to take the Hungarian Public
| Procurement Authority to court for refusing to annul the 25 billion HUF
| (about a 100 million euro) tender. The request to cancel the software tender
| was filed earlier that same month by three Hungarian IT companies
| specialising in Open Source software solutions, ULX, Multiráció and Open SKM.
| The companies say that the tender is anti-competitive since it explicitly
| calls for Microsoft products.
| The Public Procurement Authority denied the request.


Steve Ballmer Receives the Egg-treatment in Budapest

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| Update#2: OK, enough of the fun part. As the story circulates people start
| wondering what may be the background, and since the only sources are in
| Hungarian, here’s a summary of the circumstances:
|     A Hungarian Government bid, worth $25B Hungarian Forints, roughly $157M
|     was allegedly skewed towards MS. (A ‘competitive’ bid with wording that
|     all but ensures only Microsoft meets the requirements.) A Hungarian
|     Watchdog Body (sort of like the FTC in the US) challenged the bidding
|     process via the Court system, and a trial date was set for today. The
|     trial was suddenly and unexpectedly rescheduled just as Ballmer arrived
|     in Budapest. So there may be a perception of the Bully lobbying there.



MSOOXML: What Happened in Hungary

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| If you can't do the math, I think the bottom line is, it's looking like
| Microsoft won't let the world say no to OOXML. It couldn't ram it through the
| usual process, with the folks who understand the tech, even with some very
| odd technical committee chairperson goings on. This is the standard that
| couldn't win on merit, in short.    


Microsoft Office raid in Hungary

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| Such behavior could lead to the exclusion of competitive products from
| the market and violate European Union rules, according to the authority
| known as the GVH.

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