The Portuguese Government has published the National Digital Interoperability Regulation , which defines the list of open standards to be adopted in the Portuguese public administration. This framework brings to life the existing Law of Open Standards . It is part of the larger ICT reform program that aims to save 500M EUR/year while providing stimulus to the local economy.
We must stress the importance of the whole open standards adoption process and declare our explicit support for the way the interoperability regulation was designed. On one hand, there is some pragmatism to be noticed: the list of open standards is relatively short with priority given to functions where interoperability problems are a large concern. On the other hand, pragmatism didn’t mean lost of insight: there is no more than one open standard per functional category. This is something ESOP has always defended, as a measure to prevent incompatibilities that could bring the adoption process to a failure.
Choices have been made and ODF is the chosen open standard for editable documents. We think this is appropriate since ODF is implemented by several different vendors, in both open source and proprietary applications, across multiple operating systems. As a truly open standard, it can be implemented by any vendor that wishes to do so. This is a choice that will save money and avoid vendor lock in.
Other standards for formats and protocols include PDF, XML, XMPP, IMAP, SMTP, CALDAV and LDAP.
The existing Law of Open Standards (Law 36/2011) sends a clear message to the market: from now on only open standards compliant products will be purchased by the public administration. ESOP has informed its members they must ensure compliance in order to bid on public tenders.
Now that the legal framework is in place we hope that the implementation of open standards in Portugal contributes to a better functioning IT market with more competition, lower prices and new opportunities for local SMEs.
 – Law 36/2011 Unofficial translation:
 – National Digital Interoperability Regulation: