Subject: [Fwd: French senators propose making open source compulsory]
From: Michael Tiemann <tiemann@cygnus.com>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 1999 12:28:26 -0700

Here's a new thread that has implications on the business front (as
opposed to just the legal/ethical front).

Bart Veer wrote:
> 
> >From www.theregister.co.uk:
> 
> Posted 24/10/99 2:47pm by John Lettice
> 
> French senators propose making open source compulsory
> 
> French senators Pierre Laffitte and Rene Tregouet are proposing that
> national and local government and administrative systems should only
> use open source software. Arguing in favour of their proposed law
> number 495, they say ease of communication and free access by citizens
> to information can only be achieved if the administration is not
> dependent on the goodwill of the publishers of the software.
> 
> "Open systems whose evolution can be guaranteed via the free
> availability of source code are needed," they say. The two senators
> have set up a discussion forum for the proposed law at the French
> Senate Web site, and put forward the text, and their own explanation
> of why the move is needed.
> 
> They see the Internet as becoming the primary way for government and
> citizens to communicate, and propose a period of transition prior to a
> switchover to wholly electronic communications. According to Article 3
> of law 495, "State administration, local government and administrative
> services... can only use software free of [IP] rights and whose source
> code is available. A decree will fix the terms of transition from the
> current situation."
> 
> In addition, the senators see the switch to open source by the state
> as providing the engine to drive a far broader movement. Private
> companies dealing with the state, in bidding for contracts, for
> example, will tend to switch to open source to make it easier to do so
> electronically, while those who supply the state with computer systems
> will have to redouble their open source efforts.
> 
> Impressively, neither Windows nor Linux is mentioned in their proposed
> law and its supporting documentation, but it's pretty clear what the
> effect will be if it passes. Time for another Bill Gates visit to
> Lionel Jospin and Jacques Chirac, we fear. We're not sure what law
> 495's chances are, but perhaps a French reader can help us out with
> some further information. And while they're about it, could they
> explain to us why it's only number 495? Whenever we've been in France
> we've got the impression that there are a hell of a lot more than just
> 494 laws...