Should authorities be allowed to make advertisement for only one company and ignore all the others? Many people strongly disagree, among them myself, the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) and also the CIO of the Federal Republic of Germany, the IT commissioner of the German Government.
The whole story began with something we all had to read sometimes, at least subconsciously, on a website providing PDF documents: “To open the PDF files please download Adobe Acrobat Reader.”. Such notices are unnecessary advertisement for a proprietary (non-free) product — there are dozens of software applications which can do the same or even more, many of them Free Software. Because of that the FSFE started a campaign called “PDFreaders” to make this deficiency public, and contact administrations and companies with thousands of letters and emails.
One big success of this campaign in Germany is PDFreaders being mentioned in the official current Migration Guide of Germany’s Chief Information Officer. This document explains some critical points of IT in administrations and companies and evaluates different software. Under point 4.3.7 “PDF readers and authoring” the guide compares different PDF applications and also takes Free Software readers like Evince into account: [Read More…]