Quebec Broke Law in Buying Microsoft Software

The CBC reports that Quebec's government broke the law by buying software from Microsoft without considering offers from other vendors, the province's Superior Court has ruled.


  1. Eric Lawless says:

    While I’m extremely pro-open source software, it’s likely that the cost of converting all the government’s infrastructure to run on Linux (meaning complete rewrites of existing software) and training government employees in a completely new and unfamiliar operating system would far outweigh the cost of the upgrade to Vista. Savoir Faire Linux are in no way furthering their cause or contributing anything of value, they’re just costing the government (and by extension, the people of Quebec) money. This is the worst kind of zealotry.

  2. Francis Bolduc says:

    Actually, if you took the time to read the court judgement, you might have had a different opinion.

    You would have known that it actually cost a lot of money to train employees to switch from Microsoft Windows 2000 to Microsoft Windows Vista, which was nothing compared to the training for the Microsoft Office upgrade.

    Not to mention that they had to buy newer computers to run the latest versions of Microsoft Windows, which would not have been necessary if they had used Linux, since it has far lower requirements.

    Something that was not clear in the judgement, but is also worth mentioning, is that their existing .NET applications, will actually run on Linux.

    To sum it up, you have two options that fulfill the requirements:

    * Upgrading Microsoft products
    * Buy newer computers ($$)
    * Buy licenses ($$$$)
    * Buy support ($$)
    * Training ($)

    * Switching to Linux
    * Buy support ($$)
    * Training ($$)

    So I think Savoir Faire Linux are actually furthering their cause by showing that you don’t need to spend several hundred of thousands of dollars when your employees need an office suite with some macros.

    The RRQ direction acted illegally, spending tons of money because they decided to buy Microsoft products and nothing else, without doing any significant research. Why? Your guess is as good as mine.

    They then tried to cover up the whole affair. It’s very fortunate that Savoir Faire Linux exposed them so that this outrageous behavior will not happen again.

  3. Eric Lawless says:

    Research on the Subject
    I disagree, it’s my opinion that Savoir Faire Linux have contributed nothing of value, reinforced by the decision of the court not to reverse the migration to newer Microsoft software. I should state again that I’m pro-open source; I run Linux on my desktop machine at home, I develop for Linux as part of my job. That said, I still maintain that the total cost of migrating all existing systems within the Quebec government to open source software would exceed that of the incremental upgrade to Vista and Office 2007.

    The COSPA project in the EU performed several studies on and provides actual data (not just dollar signs, though I appreciate yours) for the cost of migrating public administration to open source software.

    “Recommendation 2. (savings on costs) To base the decision to migrate to OSS to save on licenses costs alone is unrealistic as they are only initial costs, all too easily influenced by inflation and market fluctuations over time. COSPA recommends the decision to be based on two related evaluations: costs of migration and costs of ownership. The former involves high investment for a shorter period, while the latter foresees expenditure for maintenance over a period of at least five years. In the migration, COSPA findings report that a substantial factor are the intangible costs such as costs for peer training.”

    You should give that a read; there is definitely a case for OSS migration, but it isn’t nearly as clear-cut as you’re attempting to make it.