[PLUG] [article] Open Source group sues Quebec government for choosing Microsoft

Sudhanwa Jogalekar sudhanwa.com at gmail.com
Wed Sep 3 16:18:58 IST 2008

Forwarded message:
Article can be interesting to many activists in LUGs.

---------- Forwarded message ----------

Date: Mon, Sep 1, 2008 at 1:57 AM
Subject: [article] Open Source group sues Quebec government for
choosing Microsoft

Source: http://tech.blorge.com/Structure:%20/2008/08/31/open-source-group-sues-quebec-government-for-choosing-microsoft/

A group advocating open source has sued the Quebec government for
procuring Microsoft software without open tender. It claims the
government has gone against its own stipulated procedures for buying

The group in question, FACIL or pour l'appropriation collective de
l'informatique libre, is a non-profit that promotes Free Software in
Quebec. Canadian paper The Gazette reported FACIL has filed a motion
in the Quebec Superior Court, claiming the government has gone against
its own guidelines on procurement by not inviting tenders from local
software providers. Instead, the Quebec government chose to procure
software from Microsoft.

It stated that the Centre des services partagés, which buys technology
for the government, spent more than $25 million this year on
proprietary software without having open tenders.

In a statement, FACIL said, "These purchases hurt the free software
suppliers throughout Quebec and are an obstacle to the development of
Quebec IT enterprises."

There might be one small loophole that might explain away the $25
million purchases – Microsoft holding the current software copyrights.
System upgrades could be exempted unless FACIL can prove its claim
that said upgrades were significantly different from previous
versions. That might be provable in the case of Windows Vista. FACIL
insists the government could have looked harder for alternatives to
the costly upgrades.

"Going from Microsoft Office 2003 to Office 2007 is more complicated
than going from Office 2003 to OpenOffice," said Cyrille Béraud,
president of Savoir-faire Linux, an open-source consultancy and member

"Are we sure Microsoft will exist in 30 years? Will the government be
able to read its own documents?" Béraud asked.

Despite vocal champions for open source, the software procurers could
possibly have been persuaded by what was easy and familiar – Microsoft
products. Unless the Quebec government can properly justify the
upgrades, this just might be a legal and symbolic victory for open
source advocates in Quebec.

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