Free software activists to stop UK gov't promotion of Adobe

Free software groups say the British government fails to promote any non-Adobe pdf readers

Free software advocates have criticized what they call the British government's promotion of proprietary software.

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) says that many U.K. government institutions regularly promote Adobe Systems' proprietary PDF reader on their websites to the exclusion of all other software.

PDF readers are programs that allow portable document format (PDF) files to be read by the user. The PDF file format, an open standard, was originally developed by Adobe, and is recognized by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as an international standard. However FSFE points out that although free software PDF readers exist, government websites typically only advertise Adobe.

Therefore this weekend, activists will meet in Manchester, England, to hunt down instances of such advertising and will contact government departments requesting that they be removed.

"Every time that state websites link to non-free applications and encourage visitors to use them, they needlessly ask citizens to throw away their freedom," said Karsten Gerloff, president of FSFE.

FSFE claims that such promotion by governments also gives an unfair advantage to whichever proprietary product is recommended, and often misleads citizens into thinking it is the only available option.

"Free software advocates in other parts of Europe have been very successful in making the information about PDF files more accurate on tax-funded websites. Currently however Britain is one of Europe's worst offenders, with nearly all contacted institutions having ignored our requests, and many more adverts remaining unreported," said FSFE U.K. coordinator Sam Tuke.

Last November the organization ran a similar campaign targeted at European Union institutions. As a result, 172 public institutions removed such advertisements. The sites included the main E.U. portal europa.eu and the European Patent Office as well as national ministries, parliaments and law enforcement agencies.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Adobe Systemsgovernment

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?