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Open Source Government

French Parliament Votes To Give Priority To Free Software 98

An anonymous reader writes "The French Parliament just wrote into law the first instance of Free Software priority in a public service, by adopting the Bill on Higher Education and Research. [Advocacy association April], after extensively contributing to the debate, especially welcomes this vote and congratulates Deputies and Senators for recognizing the importance of Free Software in the Public Service for Higher Education, since it alone can ensure equal access to the future public service. April hopes that this first step will be followed by other legislation in favor of Free Software. It also thanks all the persons who mobilized and contacted the Parliament Members."
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French Parliament Votes To Give Priority To Free Software

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  • About time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GPLHost-Thomas ( 1330431 ) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @02:26AM (#44234841)
    Priority is nice, though mandatory would be even better.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      If open source is so much better, it ought to win on merits. Of course, in civil service merits usually don't count, which is why they have lots of rules, and ultimately the whole doesn't achieve much of anything. So much so that bureaucracy is a byword for exactly that.

      An example of how to do it is the LiMux project. There, the city of Munich stuck out its head, made a plan, adjusted as necessary (because, due to scope turning out much larger than expected, they needed a much longer timetable), and now has

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        If open source is so much better, it ought to win on merits.

        It does. Proprietary software wins on lock-in, licensing and legacy.

        • ... and frequently bribery ... I mean marketing.

        • by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @06:49AM (#44235887) Journal
          It also wins on ass-covering, which is a real benefit in business nad government. If there are issues with a well known piece of proprietary software, you can always blame the software vendor or even the implementer. If a FOSS-based project fails, you take the fall for taking a chance on "some free crap developed by a bunch of hippies", even if the project is implemented by a 3rd party. It's the old adage: no-one has ever been fired for choosing IBM. Proprietary software is a safe choice.
          • And just as importantly, it gives you someone to sue if it breaks down horribly.

            • by Bert64 ( 520050 ) <bert AT slashdot DOT firenzee DOT com> on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @07:21AM (#44236013) Homepage

              No it doesn't, the license agreement on proprietary software provides no warranty whatsoever on the software, you have exactly the same ability to seek redress from the vendor as you do with open source - none.

              • The reverse is not true: when others are seeking redress, using open source may make you more vulnerable. For example: software may infringe on someone else's IP, and a lawsuit ensues. With proprietary software, the vendor will be sued. If they are forced to recall their product, you may even sue them successfully for damages because you can no longer use their software. But if you use open source, the IP holder may very well be coming after your ass, and win. Happened to a client of mine. That's the
          • by Anonymous Coward

            Proprietary does NOT win on ass-covering.

            Nobody ever sued IBM and won - (not even SCO). Nobody ever sued Microsoft and won. "Not being fired for buying IBM" has nothing to do with blaming the vendor - it is merely the legacy argument. So many others uses IBM - at least we will not be worse off than them! Only a covard would actually use the legacy argument though. Using it implies that they are not capable of judging what software will fit their business best. So they loose out on any opportunity for somet

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Thus I predict that French governments will not see serious open source adoption for decades to come, if ever.

        Your prediction is already false. The Gendarmerie Nationale switched to open source long ago, for example. Here. [].

      • "If open source is so much better, it ought to win on merits"

        You mean barring Microsoft and other Gorillas to pump dozens of millions in lobbying? I'm all for it.

    • Yeah, it's one thing to make it into law, it's another to actually enforce it.
      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        NSA the gift to FOSS that keeps on giving. You will see a lot of priority given to software that countries can more readily audit and control, rather than one particular brand of software that only the NSA gets to dick around with. M$ should seriously consider sending a multi-billion dollar bill to the NSA for the permanent harm done to M$'s cash cows windows and office. The NSA single handily will have done more to kill them than any other 'single' group, company or country - 'OUCH'.

    • by jsepeta ( 412566 )

      because free software is better? not always. sometimes it's shite.

      • Software freedom has nothing to do with convenience, I believe RMS broadcasts the message enough so that everyone should know.
  • Makes sense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EzInKy ( 115248 ) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @02:27AM (#44234849)

    Free, open source software is much more educational by its very nature than closed source shit. One can't learn from source that one can't read.

    • by Fab774 ( 2977619 )
      This is valid only for computer science students. Apart from them, who is going to read the source code of the software they're using ?
      • Re:Makes sense (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ozmanjusri ( 601766 ) <> on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @03:14AM (#44235037) Journal

        Who cares?

        Even if it's available to the merely curious, at least it helps demystify some of the most ubiquitous tools of our time. Children should be encouraged to know what's happening behind the scenes as well as how to use their apps.

        Kids don't magically morph into CS students overnight.

      • The guy you hire to maintain the software and fix a bug that is causing accounting errors - he will read it.
      • by Bert64 ( 520050 )

        On the contrary, basic (as in simple, not the language) programming should be taught to all students at a young age... It will help them understand logic and how computers work at a lower level. Computers influence virtually every aspect of our lives today, so it makes sense that everyone should have some level of understanding as to how they work.

        • by Fab774 ( 2977619 )
          This is an instance of the classical: "I like X, and I think children should be taught X at a young age". I am personally not interested in knitting and glassblowing, but I can certainly find people who are passionate about this and possibly pay them to do something for me. My sister has been using the 7th layer of the OSI model for 18 years. Does she really need that piece of information ?
    • by RoboJ1M ( 992925 )

      I think they mean that Open software guarantees that, no matter what, any student will be able to afford access to required software.
      Not just people whop can afford Winows/OSX/Office/etc.

  • Now for the rest of the world! Unfortunately North American governments will probably embrace this last because of corporate control and mass ignorance. Meanwhile, Join us now and share the software; You'll be free, hackers, you'll be free. Join us now and share the software; You'll be free, hackers, you'll be free. Hoarders can get piles of money, That is true, hackers, that is true. But they cannot help their neighbors; That's not good, hackers, that's not good. When we have enough free software At our
  • stuff, is that Windows and perhaps OSX will die and open source will take off on the desktop. A number of nations will be thinking that if MS works closely with NSA, than they certainly have a back door there.
  • by fazey ( 2806709 ) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @02:55AM (#44234967)
    I wounder what changed. First the no more internet cutoffs for piracy, and now this...
    • by Anonymous Coward

      What changed is that the PS (left-wing) won the presidential elections against UMP (right-wing). Democracy works sometimes...

    • Re:What changed (Score:5, Informative)

      by lxs ( 131946 ) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @03:15AM (#44235049)

      Not so long ago corporate shill Sarkozy was voted out and leftist Hollande was voted in.
      In some countries a change of government does mean a change of policy.

      • by RoboJ1M ( 992925 )

        *cries into his ballot box*

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        Not so long ago corporate shill Sarkozy was voted out and leftist Hollande was voted in.
        In some countries a change of government does mean a change of policy.

        He's probably from the US so he's excused for being unfamiliar with the concept.

    • They got a socialist president. Not saying the guy alone changes everything, but it's a sign of a shifting mentality: they had it with Murrica trying to boss them around, and just don't give a fuck anymore.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Sarkozy is a mix of democrate/republicain : on the right side of the political scale. And yes, democrate are definitively on the right side too. Hollande came in which is on the left side (socialist). So the political really changed, not like in the US where both right side only differs ind etail implemnentation really. Plus ,no offense , but the french constitutional council isn't ike your high court where political influence (i am looking at you scalia for example) can lead Supreme court judge to vote ag
  • by ls671 ( 1122017 ) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @03:16AM (#44235053) Homepage

    Started in 2004, it still seems to be going well at first glance: []

  • by alci63 ( 1856480 ) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @03:34AM (#44235139)
    A few weeks before this vote, the French Army confirmed a global contract with Microsoft, despite advise not to do so by a security commission, for technological and strategical independance reasons. Lobbies are still here, be reassured !
  • by Errol backfiring ( 1280012 ) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @03:39AM (#44235157) Journal
    The Dutch government has put all kinds of open-source-friendly laws into place as well, but does not even abide their own laws, especially when it comes to open source software. So I am waiting for the news that the French actually DO switch to open source software instead of just saying they will.
  • ....that won't change the commercial market place (or the number of government systems that run under MS).

    Of course, the back-doors are a hot-potato - at least, they are to anyone that hasn't been aware of them since NT4.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's total bullshit. It's a legislation requiring to "prefer" open source, it's no legal obligation. And with alluring Microsoft offers, these laws are usually blatantly ignored. As there are often discreet corruption cases or conflicts of interest, it's just meaningless not to enforce open source usage.

  • We can forget about such similar legislation ever passing in the US . . . ain't no way in hell we're gonna (knowingly) follow France in anything!

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable. -- John Kenneth Galbraith