Quebec Open Source Community Goes After Government
Quebec’s open source organization Facil is suing the province’s government for spending millions of dollars on Microsoft software, and never entertaining the idea of using anything open source. The problem here is that there is no room for competition because the government automatically goes to Microsoft.
Canadian CBC News elaborates, "Government buyers are using an exception in provincial law that allows them to buy directly from a proprietary vendor when there are no options available, but Facil said that loophole is being abused and goes against other legal requirements to buy locally."
According to CBC, the Quebec government spent $25 million on Microsoft products just between February and June of this year. It’s spending over $80 million a year just on Vista licenses.
Facil is a non-profit organization, and the only money they are seeking from this suit is enough to pay their legal expenses. All they want is a fair shot at opening up competition. P2Pnet News points out the rarity of Quebec’s case:
While most of the developed countries are now migrating their technological infrastructures to Free Software, "Quebec’s public administration is far behind," says the group, adding:
"In France, hundreds of thousands of desktops used by civil servants have been migrated. In the Netherlands, the public administration, one of the most modern in the world, has decided to forbid the use of proprietary software in the public sector.
The decision rests in the hands of the Quebec Superior Court. Luckily the judges for that court are appointed by the federal government rather than the Provincial one.