Award for Linux Access to Governmental E-Mail in Czech Republic

Feb 16, 2010

According to an announcement by the European OSOR information service, a group of Czech companies and individuals has offered a roughly 3,200 euro award to develop platform-independent access to the mandatory "Data boxes" email service used by government agencies.

The Czech Republic officially introduced the Datove schranky (Data boxes) electronic message service for public administrations halfway through 2009. These public administrations should use the service to supply each other and citizens with news and documents about themselves in a secure way. According to the Open Source Observatory and Repository Europe (OSOR) platform of the European Commission, Czech firms are required to use the Datove schranky service as of November 1, 2009.

Data boxes usage also requires the XMLfiller plugin that can be downloaded free from the developer site. The plugin currently supports Windows up to Vista and as RPM for Linux and Mac OS X. However, Czech users and companies argue that the non-Windows versions gravitate toward Wine and are unsatisfactory. The plugin is also limited to 32-bit operating systems.

A group of 25 Czech companies and individuals, according to OSOR, has now offered prize money of 85,000 CZK (about $4,442 in current exchange) to open source projects to make the Data boxes into platform-independent implementations. Currently two of these projects, Libisds and Java ISDS are vying over software libraries in C and Java to develop user desktop applications. ISDS is short for Informacní systém datových schránek (Data boxes information system). OSOR also reports that a third open source project, Dsgui, is working on making Datove schranky access available on Maemo smartphones.

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