Reprinted with the permission of John Reid, CATA President:
April 4, 2003
Ms. Michelle d'Auray
Chief Information Officer
Treasury Board of Canada, Secretariat
2745 Iris Street
Dear Ms. d'Auray:
On behalf of our members, the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance urges the Government of Canada to support the use of Open Standards and Open Source Software in the government's information technology operations.
The Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance is the trade association which represents the Canadian high tech industry. We have 500 member companies, and a further 1500 companies belong to associations which are affiliated with CATAAlliance. Most of our members are in the information and communications technology industries, the majority being software and computer services companies. While the very largest companies, like Nortel, Cognos and CGI Group, are members, the vast majority are SME's. The markets in which our members compete are global, not local, so almost every one of them exports. Product innovation is the critical factor in global success, so only a few members do not perform R&D.
Our members have seen a growing trend by such diverse countries as Germany, the U.K., Australia and China to support Open Standards, including such Open Source Software as Apache and Linux. These governments have been attracted to Open Source because it provides a foundation for lowering costs while increasing stability, scalability and security. This change in procurement strategy provides an opportunity for our members to capture new markets. It can be improved if they are able to cite the Government of Canada as a reference customer. To maximize the opportunity, and the resulting benefits of increased R&D, exports and jobs, the government must emphasise Open Standards and provide a level playing field for Open Source Software in its own IT procurements.
CATAAlliance does not recommend making Open Systems and Open Source Software mandatory. We do, however, believe that the time is ripe for your office to publicly clarify the following: