NDP MP Charlie Angus has tabled a motion before the House of Commons focusing on the need for the government to support open source software, particularly through public tendering processes. The motion (M-587) states: That, in the opinion of the House, the government should: (a) support open source information and […]
Post Tagged with: "open source 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.
The Goverment of Canada has launched a Request For Information on open source software. The RFI, which closes on February 19, 2009, is designed to provide it with assistance in developing guidelines for "the acquisition, use, and disposal" of open source software.
The emergence of open source software as a powerful alternative to proprietary software models has been an important business and societal development. Open source software is today widely used by consumers (e.g., Firefox browser) and businesses (e.g., Linux operating system, Apache web server). From a policy perspective, the Canadian government's professed goal is to create a level playing field so that the marketplace rather than laws will determine marketplace winners. It has opposed attempts to create policy preferences for open source (over the objection of some advocates and countries) instead favouring a more neutral approach.
Notwithstanding the claims of neutrality, Bill C-61 creates significant marketplace impediments for open source software. Achieving a level playing field requires interoperability so that differing computer systems can freely exchange data. The bill includes an interoperability provision at Section 41.12 which states that the anti-circumvention provisions do not apply to:
a person who owns a computer program or a copy of it, or has a licence to use the program or copy, and who circumvents a technological measure that protects that program or copy for the sole purpose of obtaining information that would allow the person to make the program and any other computer program interoperable.
The problem with this provision is that it does not extend far enough to maintain a level playing field.
Statistics Canada reports that open source software use is on the rise among Canadian private sector firms. Seventeen percent report using open source software, up from 10 percent last year. Given that the numbers are likely far higher, my guess is that this reflects the growing awareness of open source […]