Why some governments are struggling with open source implementation

OpenSource.com, 01/18/13 by Paul Brownell (Red Hat)

Observing the open source public policy landscape over the past several months, one couldn’t be blamed for feeling optimistic. Government after government, it seemed, was stepping up and laying the ground work for public-sector adoption and private-sector growth of open standards and open source software. Even the Vice President of the European Commission, Neelie Kroes, gave a full-throated endorsement of open source in late December.

But interspersed throughout these reports are stories and anecdotes of government policies being ignored, abandoned, or reversed. At a recent European Commission conference on IP and standards in open source, officials from the Netherlands (Joost Hartlief) and Denmark (Jacob Voetmann) described government open source and open standards policies that have been, respectively, only grudgingly or partially adopted and abandoned altogether. In a notable case, the city of Freiburg, Germany, fully reversed itself and returned to proprietary software.

Why are governments "talking the talk" but not always "walking the walk?" And what can be done about it?