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Free Software Wins Court Battle in Quebec

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the one-judge-not-bought dept.

Canada 172

courteaudotbiz writes "In a court battle in the province of Quebec, Canada, initiated more than two years ago, free software activists Savoir Faire Linux (translated 'Linux know-how') won the right to submit offers (Google translation; original French version) when the government takes public requests for submissions to replace its desktop operating systems and office suites. This opens the possibility in the future of replacing Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office in favor of Linux and OpenOffice.org, or any other operating system and office productivity suite. In his judgment, the magistrate said that the government acted illegally when it discarded the proposal of Savoir Faire Linux for replacing Windows XP with a Linux distribution."

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172 comments

Communist Software (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32457130)

Give the software produced by the labor of countless programmers out for free to the people so that everybody can share! It's the quommunist way!

Linux distribution for Gays (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32457184)

A Linux distribution for gays? It's more likely [google.com] than you'd think.

Re:Communist Software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32458176)

Re:Communist Software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32459170)

What I don't understand is why do non US governments tolerate their infrastructures very core to be built upon proprietary American software. Don't you all realize that Americans are imperialists and will take any opportunity to fuck you over if it suits their ends? Why allow the United States to siphon off billions from your economies when you could use that money to employ local programmers to build and maintain your systems? Why suckle from the teat when you can own the cow?

Linux or BSD is yours to do as you like. And if that isn't good enough, build your own software from scratch. Someone from your nation can be the next Bill Gates. The US doesn't have to have everything. Apple, Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, RedHat, Google, Yahoo. That could be you. I realize government sponsored search engines have failed against Google, for example, but that doesn't mean it has to always be that way.

I guess I'm just saying that it disgusts me that the Americans have to always have everything. We can make our own so why don't we?

Savoir Faire is everywhere! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32457146)

Geez, if I could only remember which old cartoon that's from. :-)

Re:Savoir Faire is everywhere! (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458612)

Savoir Faire is everywhere!
Geez, if I could only remember which old cartoon that's from. :-)

Dude, it's literally the first google hit ... Klondike Kat [wikipedia.org] .

Bravo to FACIL, Cyrille and his team! (4, Informative)

MagicFab (7234) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457186)

No doubt the court decision documents will help many people understand what Free software is and how it can be considered for government use.

Full (French) PDF of the court decision is available here:
http://blogs.savoirfairelinux.net/cyrilleberaud/KMBT35020100602152155.pdf [savoirfairelinux.net]

English background information:
http://www.fabianrodriguez.com/blog/2008/03/17/gnulinux-integrator-complains-to-supreme-court-about-quebec-government-illegaly-upgrading-to-vista-without-proper-rfps/ [fabianrodriguez.com]

Re:Bravo to FACIL, Cyrille and his team! (0, Troll)

mrclisdue (1321513) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457392)

As a Canadian, I can say I'm proud that somewhere in the country some semblance of common sense prevails.

But we still have a long, long, way to go.

I drove alone with a First Nations' elder just 4 nights ago - for over 90 minutes. During the conversation I offered to donate as many PCs, loaded with Slackware, and whatever else they needed, including legitimate MS and related software (virtually, of course), with full 24/7 support for the OS....

My offer was dismissed in milliseconds, and I think he stopped listening at free and open source, but I could be wrong. One of his reasons was that someone on the reserve was sort of already doing something like that (erm...for $$profit$$, natch...)

This, on a reserve where the young adults and teens huff gasoline....where 70% of the residents live below poverty level...even in the non-reserve area, within 100kms, 40% of the young adults live below poverty level.

Believe me, I'm trying, but the MS cancer cuts deep.

regards,

Re:Bravo to FACIL, Cyrille and his team! (4, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457736)

It's always like that , and that's one reason why this decision is important - it means, at least in Quebec, that there's no more of this "it's just an upgrade" BS.

From what I read in the original french, the judge wasn't buying any of the gov't arguments. To paraphrase, if buying new computers with Vista on them is just an "upgrade", then everything becomes "just an upgrade" and there's no reason for ever calling for public tenders. (Those new police cars are "just an upgrade - no need for tenders").

The problem is that Windows boxes are a continuing cash cow because of their higher on-going support needs, so of course people are going to push Windows. They aren't tech-savvy, they just know how to push the boxes, maintain the anti-virus subscriptions, which icons to click to set up the network, and how to reformat.

Re:Bravo to FACIL, Cyrille and his team! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32459328)

While the judge was right, and the government should consider options, in practical purposes, this is a horrible decision, and I'll tell you why:

SavoirFaireLinux is the most incompetent linux services company I've dealt with (and I've dealt with them and their "service" for dedicated servers for several clients). There is terrible organization of their clients & servers, horrible, and I mean HORRIBLE security management, atrocious customer service where the client is always wrong (and complaining due to some savoirefairelinux-created issue).

I sincerely hope the government stays with what works, until this province can develop some real competition to Windows -- SavoirFaireLinux is a company that is only in business because their past clients feel stuck with them, and is a company that lacks even the most remote ability to manage even a dozen government computers.

I haven't heard of buggy and insecure windows servers like what savoirefairelinux provides in Linux form in years. I've seen full root access by hackers that used holes in code that could have been patched literally years previously -- and this is in fully managed, dedicated servers.

Maybe in a few years, there'll be competent competition, but at the moment, Quebec's linux scene, as represented by savoirfairelinux (translated means "know-how linux", how ironic) is so far from being able to manage a few government servers that it's truly not funny.

mandriva wold be a good fit (1)

chronoss2010 (1825454) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458532)

its french made with a lot of english support and do you lads realize how many govt computers there are ? HOW much doh would be saved i've been advocating that ALL govt in Canada should migrate to open source we could make beaver Linux or mapleleaf Linux or whatever, the in house nature means you do not have to out open source PROBLEM however comes with new copyright law there may be issues with modifying opensource that has any login systems ( technological protection measures) and in fact even permsisionary structures of the file systems are a technological protection measure that will require me and you and everyone to ask permission every time we change or move a file around in an operating system

The Frenchs saw it comming (2, Insightful)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457210)

Vive le Quebec libre!
- Charles deGaule

Re:The Frenchs saw it comming (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457258)

::French Accent:: "Eh Vive Jay Shermaaaan...eh Vive Quebec-eh." -Jay Sherman

Re:The Frenchs saw it comming (1)

Etyenne (4915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457354)

Libre == Free (as in speech). That couldn't be more fitting!

Re:The French saw it comming (-1, Troll)

Dr Caleb (121505) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458186)

Actually, it was quite insulting for the President of France to come to Canada and state that Quebec should be free (independent). We haven't quite forgiven him for interfering in our internal politics while in the position of honoured guest. After all, it was France that abandoned Quebec to British rule, after Wolfe handed Montcalm his ass.

Re:The French saw it comming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32458482)

insulting... question de point de vue ;)

Re:The French saw it comming (1)

jsrlepage (696948) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459020)

Some people are never going to get over the Plaines d'Abraham, it seems...

Re:The French saw it comming (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459098)

The president of which you speak has been dead for 40 years, and de Gaulle had been making it a habit to piss off friends and allies since WWII, when Churchill could have throttled him a number of times for his big mouth.

Re:The French saw it comming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32459162)

But it is all right if Brits and Yankees doing the same in other places...like Balkans, Latin America, Middle East ...

"Won the right to submit offers" (3, Insightful)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457214)

Seriously, doesn't this yell corruption into everybody's ears? What right is held back next?

Re:"Won the right to submit offers" (2, Interesting)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457276)

Seriously, doesn't this yell corruption into everybody's ears? What right is held back next?

Nope. What it more likely yells at me is a bad translation from French political/legal speech to English.

Re:"Won the right to submit offers" (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32457314)

Seriously, doesn't this yell corruption into everybody's ears? What right is held back next?

Nope. What it more likely yells at me is a bad translation from French political/legal speech to English.

you're such a dumbass i can't believe it. right to submission means right to be considered for gov't use. if anything closed-source should be disfavored here. fuck translations, try using common sense. if you can.

Re:"Won the right to submit offers" (1)

Etyenne (4915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457506)

No, wrong. This judgement is about the procument process.

Re:"Won the right to submit offers" (4, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457898)

This judgment was about the procurement process in this context, but it has far-reaching implications. It means that the government has to follow the rules that they laid down for public tenders, and not (1) try to subvert the process, and (2) lie about it afterwords. If you read one of the other articles on the french web page, you'll see that it's the Parti Quebecois that is trying to get the government to be more user-friendly with our data and our tax dollars, while Jean Charest' Liberals don't want to know shit

Then again, Jean Charest is such a lying fuck it's incredible. I remember talking to reporters and saying "people actually believe this guy?" and the response back was uniform "he says one thing to one group, another thing to another, but our editors just want to report what he's saying, not that he's lying half the time". We saw it with the whole demerger thing. Make a promise to do the right thing, then lie lie lie while you fuck everyone over.

Then again, what do you want from a former Mulroney Conservative. There are so many anglos in Montreal who vote PQ now in provincial elections because there's no way that they can trust him again.

Re:"Won the right to submit offers" (1)

Etyenne (4915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458316)

Agreed on all count, except on anglos voting for the PQ. I cannot believe I will ever see that in my lifetime!

Re:"Won the right to submit offers" (4, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457790)

Read the article in the original french. The judge made it quite clear that what the government did was illegal. Not just "illegal", but totally illegal, and that they tried to cover it up after-the-fact.

And F/LOSS is political. Using F/LOSS is as much a political statement as it is an economic statement - that it's our computers, our data, and we have a right to see the source, to use open formats, to modify it the way we want, and no private corporation should be able to lock us out.

Re:"Won the right to submit offers" (4, Interesting)

Etyenne (4915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457292)

The RFP specified "Windows Vista license", which by definition excluded anybody who wanted to submit a proposal desktop OS replacement plan based on Linux. What Savoir-Faire Linux won is, basically (paraphrased, read the judgement) the right to submit a proposal to upgrade Windows desktop to Linux.

Re:"Won the right to submit offers" (2, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457820)

Sure, the RFP should have said "Windows Vista, or better".

Re:"Won the right to submit offers" (1)

jeffasselin (566598) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458740)

Actually it should have said Windows Vista or equivalent.

RFPs from the Quebec government can specify products (say an HP server) but must accept equivalent products in the bid (an IBM or Dell server with the same characteristics and capabilities).

Re:"Won the right to submit offers" (1)

Zumbs (1241138) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458966)

So, Windows XP would suffice?

Re:"Won the right to submit offers" (4, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458732)

Wrong. The government is required by law to consider all functional equivalents. The government's own studies show that linux is as good as, and often better, than Windows.

By specifying Windows Vista, MS-Office, and Visio, rather than "products that provide the following functionality ...", they broke the law. Then they tried to cover it up, Worse, they claimed it was a "software upgrade" when it in fact included the purchase of new computers as well.

To quote from the judgment Savoir-Faire Linux included this request when they became aware of the intended purchase: Page 8: "L'article 12.4 impose une 'recherche serieuse et documentee', pourriez-vous nous faire parvenir cette documentation?"

Translated, it means "Article 12.4 requires that an in-depth, documented study be done, can you send a copy of the study to me?" There was no study done before deciding what to buy, and the government tried to cover up that they didn't follow the law.

The government, under threat of legal action, agreed to meet with Beraud, but refused to give the specifications, nor the study that was requied to be done (because neither existed).

Beraud then offered [56] an outside expert to help them do the study that they were required to do by law anyway (and hadn't done) during the procurement process.

Now check out para. 84: (page 19) "A l'audience, le procureur de Microsoft souleve " - Mr. Softie didn't sell the software directly. I was bought through Compugen. But Mr. Softie knew that losing here would mean opening the doors to losing more $$$ later.

Para 150 (page 29), quoting para 116 of Judge Silcoff in Alstrom "... the court notes that the study, to be in conformity with the law, must not only be in depth but also documented. If th STM (the city transit commission) wants to use an exception provided by law (to this requirement), they must document their research and conclusions .. before making their decision."

This is the law for all procurements exceeding $25,000.00 (para 152, page 29).

Para 153 (page 30) shows that there was no study done - quite the contrary.

Para 156 (page 31) - back in 2005 the Regie had put out a policy saying that when it came time to renew software in 2006-2007, open-source would be considered.

The smoking gun: para 157: (my translation) "I'd like an expert on open source software from CGI to comment on the following reply that we have made to a promoter of linux/openoffice. Are these valid arguments? What are the weak points that the promoter will attack and how will he do it?"

In other words, "We didn't do the study required by law, and we want to cover our asses - tell us where we fucked up."

It blew up in their face: para 160 (page 32) : "I believed that the objective was to compare the two solutions. Instead, it's a request to confirm that Linux-OO is no good. That would be a bit paradoxical for (us) to make such a statement when we are publicly stating the exact opposite ourselves."

Pares 198 ff (page 38) the court completely rejects the government's arguments.

The judge agreed that the government had no right to do what it did.

Re:"Won the right to submit offers" (3, Informative)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457378)

Quebec has a long history of failing to put contracts to tender properly. In particular, the construction industry has long been involved in the corruption of government officials to win contracts on dubious grounds. It's part of the reason that the infrastructure is so bad. I doubt that corruption was involved in this case however; I think it comes more from the fact that a large slice of the public doesn't realize that non-Microsoft operating systems exist.

Re:"Won the right to submit offers" (2, Funny)

value_added (719364) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457858)

I think it comes more from the fact that a large slice of the public doesn't realize that non-Microsoft operating systems exist.

Now that they have a chance to learn just that.

It's entirely possible that the rate of Linux adoption will be faster than elsewhere; not having to grapple with distinctions involving beer metaphors should make things easier. ;-)

Re:"Won the right to submit offers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32457890)

I doubt that corruption was involved in this case however; I think it comes more from the fact that a large slice of the public doesn't realize that non-Microsoft operating systems exist.

Also the beaurocrats in the Canadian Federal or Provincial Governments are CYA [wikipedia.org] activists. The funniest thing is, they have no liability and yet they're terrified of making a decision that could get them 'in trouble'.

Re:"Won the right to submit offers" (1)

courteaudotbiz (1191083) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458050)

Canadian Federal or Provincial Governments are CYA [wikipedia.org] activists.

Not activists. Extremists.

Why they're afraid to make decisions? Because they don't like to be disturbed while they're sleeping in their office, by their boss saying "Can you explain that to me dumbass? What is this Lunix thing?"

Re:"Won the right to submit offers" (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458584)

More like they don't want to be shot out of a catapult when the media turns something minor into a huge scandal and the politicians come looking for scapegoats.

Re:"Won the right to submit offers" (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459276)

What it yells is that people can't understand it if it isn't Microsoft Windows and isn't Microsoft Office. There was a time when the choices were IBM's DOS and Microsoft's DOS; Word Perfect and whatever; Lotus 123 and whatever. But that market-scape has changed and nothing else is within the realm of consideration. It is not just F/OSS that is to be denied but anything that isn't Microsoft.

Let's look at it another way. If the product were ball bearings and there was only one maker of ball bearings, that would be the only brand that would get consideration. (Sure, there can be multiple suppliers of the same brand of ball bearings, but only one brand.) So if another maker of ball bearings came to be and another supplier tried to offer them, they wouldn't get considered because they don't understand ball bearings of another brand.

I have heard lots of rationales associated with fear of open source and all that, but I don't really think that people are thinking that far into it. I think "it's not Microsoft" is as far as the consideration process goes. It's not "corruption" in such an instance, it's laziness and thoughtlessness. That does not excuse the situation, but it does better define the problem. They aren't doing their jobs because it's easier to just keep things unchanged by not considering anything else.

Rediculous. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32457294)

If the government of Quebec wants to upgrade their AutoCad 2000 license to AutoCad 2010 licenses, do they have to accept bids from people who want to sell them the free software program "Bricscad" running under Wine?
I know this is a linux-crowd. But do we have to be that stupid, as to pretend that a wholesale substitution should be acceptable in government bid-spec agreements?

The government of quebec's argument (an office 2003 to 2007, xp to vista) UPGRADE is not a bid-spec for a complete wholesale exchange of all their software and systems for one that is not compatible with all the other software in their list. What office do you know that runs on windows that uses less than a few dozen Windows applications that are not available on linux?

So we get vmware, and install Windows in a VM? Seriously people.

I agree that the government should be considering extracting itself from the control of the "multinationals" as google-translate in TFA renders it. Microsoft's hegemony must be removed from government and public offices, if our governments are to be free of the baleful influence of these mega-vendors. (Apple would be no better in its stead, and I agree that an open source tools approach, built around Open Office should be better for any government in the long run. However, the transition could provide a whole host of excuses, at least, and paralyze most already nearly-useless government offices. Who wants their already slow tedious beauracracy to be complaing that they can't do anything now, because they are too busy trying to figure out how to fix up their stupid excel spreadsheets to work in OO calc.)

W

Re:Rediculous. (3, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457416)

I would hope that any major upgrade in government would involve at least some degree of systems analysis. And any decent systems analyst is going to take differences in software packages into account (along with many other factors)--not just price.

Re:Rediculous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32458008)

I would hope that any major upgrade in government would involve at least some degree of systems analysis. And any decent systems analyst is going to take differences in software packages into account (along with many other factors)--not just price.

Having worked as a consultant in many government offices I can categorically state your assertion is so far off base as to be sad. There are no decent systems analysts (FTE) employed by the government.

Re:Rediculous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32458762)

There used to be, but they were run off.

Re:Rediculous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32458572)

I would hope that any major upgrade in government would involve at least some degree of systems analysis. And any decent systems analyst is going to take differences in software packages into account (along with many other factors)--not just price.

Yes. But office 2007 and the ribbon interface is SO different from previous versions of office that there are significant training & transition costs.

Openoffice (or any other application) with a more standard File Edit View menu system involves much less retraining.

Re:Rediculous. (1)

pete_norm (150498) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459156)

One of the problem is that he systems analyst are not always the one that make the finale decision on what bid to accept. The selection committee members dos not have time (and sometime the competences) to determine if a software package is equivalent or not to another one. Where I work (about 600 PCs), the upgrade from Windows NT 4 to Windows XP Pro (including an upgrade of Office) was studied and evaluated for about 9 months to plan for all the impacts on existing software packages, work process, etc... There is no way, the members can take that kind of decision during a selection committee.

Usually the system analysts will do their work before the bidding process, determine what software package (or packages) are acceptable in the bids and build the public request for proposal. What that court decision brings to the table is that it weakens the system analyst's work by denying, in a way, the right of the government to ask for a specific software package.

The decision will give a chance to SFL to bid on future public request for proposal from the Qubec government (even if their proposed technology is different from what is asked for) but i don't want to know what would happen if their bid actually won. Personnaly, I can't imagine changing from Windows to anything else just because a different company won a contest. There is so much Windows specific programs and software package where I work that it would create some pretty huge problems.

So it's probably a win for Free software, but it could create some pretty difficult problems. to solve

Re:Rediculous. (4, Insightful)

Etyenne (4915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457532)

If the government of Quebec wants to upgrade their AutoCad 2000 license to AutoCad 2010 licenses, do they have to accept bids from people who want to sell them the free software program "Bricscad" running under Wine?

Close, but no cookie. It means the government has to describe the need they need to fill, instead of dictating a specific product, in their RFP. Any bidder that can meet these needs can submit a proposal. It's common sense, really.

Re:Rediculous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32457660)

That makes sense, certainly. However the "need they need to fill" is generally to "work with their existing applications". For example at our company we have 90,000 machines (65% notebooks). We also have an application portfolio of 4,000 apps (a mix of vendor and in-house, some are vertical market apps). We have a requirement for Smart Card logon and also that all apps (web apps, mail, etc.) be single sign on so that the user logs on with their Smart Card and are done entering credentials. Swap out to Linux? Hardly. Can't be done without a major investment in re-writing all those in house apps and convincing the third parties to make a version for Linux. Also you generally have to give up the single sign on. Feasible someday? Probably. Now? Not a chance.

Re:Rediculous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32457874)

That makes sense, certainly. However the "need they need to fill" is generally to "work with their existing applications".

Right, so no one will usually be able to bid using Linux because it doesn't meet the requirements. So what? That doesn't mean, out of the zillion contracts the government puts out, that it won't meet some small fraction of them. And having the specs creates a target: Which of these things can't you do with Linux? Fix them and you get a sweet government contract.

Re:Rediculous. (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458624)

And will that bid include the cost of retraining the entire IT staff on Linux?

No more than the cost to retrain to MSO2007 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32459150)

No more than the cost to retrain to MSO2007. Or the retraining to Vista. Or the retraining to...

Re:Rediculous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32459272)

Sure, just like the Windows bid will include retraining the entire IT staff on the newer version of Windows. And the bids should include long term projections of what the platforms will cost which will show the true price of vendor lock-in to Microsoft.

Re:Rediculous. (1)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457862)

"upgrade their AutoCad 2000 license to AutoCad 2010 licenses,"

They have to specify that the new program van read autocad 2000 data files and whatever features they require to have the autocad 2010.

The good burocrats write "AutoCad 2010 or comparable" , the lazy ones write "AutoCad 2010".

score -1 strawman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32458096)

"If the government of Quebec wants to upgrade their AutoCad 2000 license to AutoCad 2010 licenses, do they have to accept bids from people who want to sell them the free software program "Bricscad" running under Wine?"

Strawman !!!

For those who aren't bilingual... (3, Informative)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457312)

Here is some English reporting [www.cbc.ca] on the subject.

Re:For those who aren't bilingual... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32457462)

I'm bilingual, but French isn't one of them.

A business, not an "activist" (5, Informative)

Etyenne (4915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457340)

Correction to the article text: Savoir-Faire Linux is a commercial Linux service provider (an integrator), not an "activist". Look them up on the web. They sued the government because buying Windows specifically without considering Free software options was witholding them business.

FACIL, which also sued the government for the same reason in a different case, *is* an advocacy non-profit organization, somewhat akin to APRIL or the FSF.

Re:A business, not an "activist" (2, Informative)

stakovahflow (1660677) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457504)

Even if this is an action by a business, it will not be the first time, nor the last...

Red Hat sued the Swiss government (2009 IT World):
http://tinyurl.com/o6mv2f [tinyurl.com]

And how many times have M$, Apple, Novell, etc done similar things?

I'm just happy to see a law suit that does not revolve around copyright/patent infringement.

--Stak

Systeme d'exploitation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32457384)

Sounds like a good description for Windows! :p

Tabernacle! (1)

DarrenBaker (322210) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457428)

Should not that Canadian flag be a Fleur-de-lis? Calis!

Re:Tabernacle! (1)

Etyenne (4915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457556)

Yes, please.

And it's spelled "tabarnak" and "câlisse". Osti de twit.

Re:Tabernacle! (1, Funny)

DarrenBaker (322210) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457618)

Sucer mon aubergines, Québécois chien!

Re:Tabernacle! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32458058)

FYI: poorly written swearing in any language offends no one and opens yourself to ridicule.

Re:Tabernacle! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32458138)

need a new mod : -1 use of bad online translator

Re:Tabernacle! (1)

alexandre (53) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458140)

bwahahahah, j'adore les threads sur le Québec :P

Re:Tabernacle! (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458280)

except they keep trying to separate from the main thread.

Re:Tabernacle! (1)

alexandre (53) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458670)

It's just about having a different topic thread in it's right place, they'll still post in both :-P

if you have to "win the right to submit offers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32457430)

If you have to "win the right to submit offers", what are the chances you're going to be the one who wins the contract? If you had to fight just to get on the list, somehow it doesn't seem very likely you will be chosen.

Re:if you have to "win the right to submit offers" (1)

courteaudotbiz (1191083) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457598)

In fact, the rules for winning contracts are very clear. Lowest price for a qualified submission, or highest score divided by price submission.

But as you say, there is still corruption, so it is still unlikely a small business as Savoir Faire Linux may win a contract to replace the OS on 2500 workstations in government offices... Except if they can give a brown envelope full of cash to some influential-enough person...

Re:if you have to "win the right to submit offers" (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457750)

But would the influential-enough person accept Canadian Tire money [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:if you have to "win the right to submit offers" (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457966)

Maybe if they sweetened the pot with a few pre-paid Tim Horton's [wikipedia.org] Tim Cards [timhortons.com] as well.

Please respect the law (3, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457452)

Please note that your response posts must be provided in both English and French.

Re:Please respect the law (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457490)

And remember the French should appear first and be predominant (larger font).

Re:Please respect the law (3, Funny)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457546)

S'il vous plaît noter que vos messages de réponse doivent être fournis en français et en anglais.

You should have included the french then.

Vous devriez avoir compris le français alors.

Re:Please respect the law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32459302)

You should have included the french then.

Vous devriez avoir compris le français alors.

I apologize for my transgressions and will endeavor to do better in the future.

Votre mère était un hamster et ton père sentait le sureau.

Le Linux! (1)

pinkj (521155) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457502)

Vive le Linux libre!

That is needed in the USA (4, Interesting)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457522)

I did some government biding some time ago. It was such a joke, they would request bids for "150 Dell Latitude D830's to be delivered over a 12 month period" The thing was, Dell was bidding and the government would through out anything that was not a Dell Latitude D830. So No comparable systems and no way to beat Dell's bid. As far as I was concerned it was a rigged bid and most of them went that way.

So, For the government to request bids on "Windows Vista" and to ignore all other desktop OS's is the same thing as far as I am concerned.

Now, the real question is: Was the bid written so that they could only get a bid from who they wanted or was it written that way because the guy in charge listened to the sales person, decided that was what he needed, and then wrote a bid because it was required that they take bids?

Re:That is needed in the USA (2, Interesting)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457678)

I did some government biding some time ago. It was such a joke, they would request bids for "150 Dell Latitude D830's to be delivered over a 12 month period" The thing was, Dell was bidding and the government would through out anything that was not a Dell Latitude D830. So No comparable systems and no way to beat Dell's bid. As far as I was concerned it was a rigged bid and most of them went that way.

So, For the government to request bids on "Windows Vista" and to ignore all other desktop OS's is the same thing as far as I am concerned.

I disagree - there is the probability that there already exists an infrastructure built around Windows desktops, including systems management and applications. In such a case, does it really make sense to consider bids for an alternative desktop OS, which would require extra unbudgeted expenditure in order to integrate into the existing infrastructure (or replace the existing infrastructure altogether, with all the costs associated with that)?

With regard to the Dell example, I regularly got Dell equipment cheaper from a Dell reseller than from Dell direct (and we were placing orders for $90 - $150K of equipment), but I understand your example - however, a different laptop is not exactly comparable to having to swap an entire OS and its ecosystem.

Re:That is needed in the USA (3, Insightful)

wrook (134116) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458236)

I disagree - there is the probability that there already exists an infrastructure built around Windows desktops, including systems management and applications. In such a case, does it really make sense to consider bids for an alternative desktop OS, which would require extra unbudgeted expenditure in order to integrate into the existing infrastructure (or replace the existing infrastructure altogether, with all the costs associated with that)?

The answer is YES! The government is required to consider all competing bids. It's not just a good idea, it's the law and for good reason. It helps stop corruption when doling out taxpayer's money. IF it can be shown that a competing bid is more expensive for the same value, then of course they are quite able to reject the bid. However, disallowing competing bids is extremely bad because you don't know what the cost will be, or what the issues are -- because nobody has made a bid! Given that the capital cost for the average Linux distribution is zero, there should be plenty of money left over for other expenditures required to integrate into the existing infrastructure. In fact, from a reputable integrator, this (along with training and support of course) should be the vast majority of the cost.

Re:That is needed in the USA (0, Flamebait)

Tridus (79566) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458710)

More like it helps promote stupidity when spending taxpayer money. Someone can put in a bid for "Linux" that's cheaper then "Vista", by the whole free thing. They'll leave out the part where it involves changing an entire infrastructure that is based around Windows, retraining the IT staff that all know how to administer/support/develop for Windows, and users who know how to use Windows. Not to mention the cost surrounding applications and migration.

This type of nonsense happens all the time in other areas. They'll take the lowest bid because by law they're supposed to, even though they know that bid is from a disreputable vendor that will wind up delivering an inferior product late and over-budget. When you take decision making ability out of the process, you might cut down on potential corruption, but you increase the likelihood of BS bids winning.

Swings and roundabouts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32459000)

Swings and roundabouts. Linux generally works VERY well with windows (the other way round, not so much), but this is true if you don't have all the same version of windows.

But even where there is a difference, you can easily offset the cost of free linux against the cost of reorganising your infrastructure to accommodate Linux.

And you don't have anywhere near the cost of administrating that virus magnet known as windows.

Re:That is needed in the USA (1)

Changa_MC (827317) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459220)

You confuse, "consider bids," with, "accept bids."

Anyone can bid, and gain consideration. But, "hur dur, my cousin builted this linux thing for free!" Will be rejected on practical grounds while, "This fully suppported opensource software hardware integrated package can meet 100% of needs for the tasks your workers perform on a daily basis, and costs 80% of a similar proprietary system."

At least here, the government uses windows XP stations to run proprietary software to telnet into an HP Unix box. I suspect this company could do that cheaper, without losing any features.

Re:That is needed in the USA (0, Flamebait)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459248)

So every time the government needs to replace a number of desktops, it also has to consider replacing the entire IT infrastructure?

Re:That is needed in the USA (1)

jeffasselin (566598) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458946)

This judgement is that the government must at the very least consider the alternatives like Linux in an "appel d'offres", a bid request, and evaluate if it is the better, cheaper alternative. Instead the government agency in question had purposefully derided and torpedoed the Linux option and made the bid request essentially "Microsoft product only", which the judge declared was illegal.

The judge didn't force the government to go with Linux, and indeed in many situations it would not make sense economically. But there are situations where it might, and this judgement simply says that the current do indeed require the government and governmental agencies to make efforts to enable a proper comparison of solutions.

Re:That is needed in the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32458224)

That is standard fare in ALL government who have a "fair and open procurement process".

As a contractor, this has helped me stay in some places to the mutual benefit myself and my client. (It can take 3-6 months before you actually become useful and by then your contract is up)

Other times, by the wording of the bid you can tell that someone is just trying to keep an incumbent in by using impossible requirements. (e.g. 12 month experience on an OS that came out 9 months ago = Windows 7)

Meanwhile on the private side, a company just gets who they want/need in the job w/o BS.

Imagine if your company already has Dell Latitude D830 PCs and has a WIM image file already done for deployment. Do you want to spend another 4-6 months building one for another box and support 2 models for 3 years when you could have only one?

Re:That is needed in the USA (1)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458614)

That's stupid.

Sure the thing with the Dells is a rigged Bid, no question there. Likely whoever was in charge of the bidding didn't know what the hell he was doing, and if was ever brought to task would be in deep crap. Or he was getting a kickback from Dell, which is doubtful... they are too cheap :) jk.

However to say having a requirement for Vista falls into the same category is foolish. In an enterprise environment they will have many requirements that must me met, and many of them, such as the choice of the OS is a justifiable element. Compatibility, Training, etc.. would all have huge impact. So stop being silly.

Re:That is needed in the USA (1)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459210)

Bull Shit!

What do people use at work?

Office, Explorer, Outlook, and maybe an IM software. That is about it.

Sure your accountants will use an accounting software, which BTW, in large corporations and government offices tends to be a UNIX app that they telnet or open a terminal to.

So tell me, in what area is Linux not going to work for standard office work?

Interesting but reading Google's Translation . . . (1)

Veni Vidi Dormi (975178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457528)

makes my brain want to liquefy and seep out my ears.

Re:Interesting but reading Google's Translation . (1)

dwiget001 (1073738) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457590)

|| makes my brain want to liquefy and seep out my ears. ||

Hey! Don't knock it till you've tried it!

Win for Free or Win for Quebec (1)

imcclell (138690) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457538)

Does this decision allow for a bid from all competitors or just SFL? The translated story is not very clear on that matter.

Quebec courts have always been quick to rule in the favor of local interests. If anyone can submit a competitive bid then justice has been served, but if it's only the SFL then the corruption is on the side of the courts. Would this have been accepted if it was a french version of REL?

Re:Win for Free or Win for Quebec (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32457668)

If they used the same arguments in court, yes.

Hey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32457828)

Winux will never replace Lindows.

Government should invest in foss (1)

dieu1979 (993752) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458016)

I ever think the government should invest in foss project that can fit he's need. It's will be a more effective way to spend money , then give it too big business. The government are there to serve the people interest , not the business interest.

In English (1)

Artem Tashkinov (764309) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458404)

More information in English here [www.cbc.ca] and also here [p2pnet.net] .

So Quebec is in the wrong because... (1)

Delusion_ (56114) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458426)

...they rejected a bid submission for upgrading their XP machines to Vista which didn't actually successfully meet their requirement that the OS in question be the one they asked for?

I'm not trying to push anyone's buttons, but what if the proposal was to upgrade their linux servers with modern systems running linux. If a vendor came along and part of that proposal included a server running Windows Server 2008 and they rejected that proposal because it didn't meet their requirements, would the OSS community be up in arms then?

Does a government body seeking bids on computer systems have the right to specify which OS they plan to use, and may require for industry-specific ads? Or are all requirements on the table meaningless?

ads = apps (1)

Delusion_ (56114) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458528)

sorry

Re:So Quebec is in the wrong because... (1)

clarkn0va (807617) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458796)

Any RFP that names brands has missed the point. A better RFP would describe exactly what the new OS needs to accomplish, rather than what vendor or product they want to accomplish it.

Re:So Quebec is in the wrong because... (2, Informative)

Delusion_ (56114) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459018)

That's fine in the abstract, but in the real world, it doesn't always hold up, particularly when what a new OS needs to accomplish is often something as mundane as "run the apps we've already spent money on" or "be compatible with the third party vendor software that we don't have (or want) an alternative to", such as enterprise small format and large format printers.

I've had this discussion with people before who migrated to Vista too soon who wanted drivers for $60,000 devices. In a couple of cases, I had to put it rather undiplomatically: "You have a $150 OS and a $60,000 device, and you're going to have to choose between them until the vendor is done with their driver update". If this is a company with 5 computers, the device wins. In business, you're often straddled with legacy applications that you as an IT person don't have the luxury of saying "it's not compatible with the new OS, so find a replacement".

Even worse, in a few rare cases we were talking about legacy equipment that was never, ever going to have a Vista/7 driver written for it. Most decided to stick with XP for a while longer and put off the question for a few months until they had a better picture on which to base such a decision.

Re:So Quebec is in the wrong because... (1)

rattaroaz (1491445) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459028)

If a vendor came along and part of that proposal included a server running Windows Server 2008 and they rejected that proposal because it didn't meet their requirements, would the OSS community be up in arms then?

Maybe. For example, if the requirement was to upgrade all RHEL to all bids for the next RHEL version with trademarks in place, then yes. Up in arms. If requirement was upgrade to any GNU/Linux: Novell, RHEL, Oracle (he he he), Ubuntu, CentOs with support of local firm, then no. The concept is competition. Yes, I understand the comparison in this context doesn't fit perfectly, but any time I can be unfair to a corporation, I'll jump at it.

I worked for SFL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32458578)

Wow this is awesome. I worked for Savoir Faire Linux for my college (CEGEP) internship under Cyrille. Their company has grown substantially since then and have become a reference in Quebec for free open source software solutions. I congratulate him for the fight he lead to promote free open source software in this case and to show that there are alternatives out there. Like he said, we don't have to be dependent on multinational corporations for our software needs.

The ever-present language issue in Quebec (0, Offtopic)

Simonetta (207550) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458634)

Whenever the province of Quebec appears in the news, what is usually lacking in the story is any mention of the ever-present language issue. Basically, the seven million people in Quebec speak French and the other five hundred million people in North America don't. To deal with this situation, the fanatics that have controlled Quebec for the past forty years (more or less) have institutionalized and perpetuated a peculiar fantasy that everyone else in NA must adapt to their need to continue using this legacy language in all manner of public interaction above the level of conversation. This is why you see French translations on products in places like Southern California and Mexico, where no one speaks French.

    Now personally I like the French language. It's one of the civilized languages of the world, along with English and C++. All the other languages are distant also-rans. But the present generation of native French speakers are totally clueless as to how to restore this beautiful language to its proper place in the world. They are such nit-wits that they are risking the possibility of having French disappear from use in the next hundred years like all the other European and tribal legacy languages, like Polish and Apache.

    What is desperately needed is a powerful, free, and widely-available computer program that accurately translates English, and eventually the other superfluous languages of the world, into French. And French back into English. The Turing test for this program would be to say something (speech-to-text included, of course!) into the program, translate it Eng to Frn, re-translate it back to Eng, and have it comprehensibly match the original speech.

    This is what the people of Quebec should be working on during those long cold winter nights that start in mid-September and last until mid-May. But instead, we who venture to their beautiful country, get endless amounts of merde about our unwillingness to employ this wonderful language in our attempts at self-improvement through conversation with the people in this wonderful country. But mes amis, it's not unwillingness on our part, it's inability. It's not our fault that we were born in the 99.4% of the world that doesn't have French as a birth language. So, s'il vous plait, cut us some slack, Jacques.

    And start developing the machine that will do the translating for us. It is more important than all the other technical issues in this wonderful country.

    Je me souviens: Quebec I forgot: Ontario I never gave a shit: California ?Que?: everyone else in the western hemisphere

Better translation (1)

koreaman (835838) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458692)

This isn't perfect, but it's hopefully better than the machine translation linked to in the summary.

(Quebec) The Régie des rentes du Québec (RRQ) acted illegally in February 2008 when it acquired Microsoft software without a bidding process, Superior Court's Judge Denis Jacques concluded.

In a lengthy ruling of about forty pages, the magistrate sided completely with the company Savoir-Faire Linux (SFL), who brought this action against the RRQ and the Centre de services partagés du Québec (Quebec shared services center, CSPQ).

"The real winner in this judgment is the government of Québec, which has been freed from the grip of multinational conglomerates", said Cyrille Béraud, president of the SFL, on Thursday. "All I won was the right to be considered alongside the others in a free and competitive market."

SFL began this action after the RRQ denied its request to submit a Linux-based bid for the RRQ's planned acquisition of operating systems and office suites for 500 workstations.

Simple upgrade?

The Centre de services partagés du Québec argued before the court that the Régie was only "upgrading" its workstations, in order to justify its decision to consider only Microsoft products, notably the operating system Vista and the Office 2007 suite.

The judge disagreed due to the fact that the RRQ intended to replace the Windows XP OS and the Office 2000 suite. "This is a migration, a renowal of their technological infrastructure. [...] If such a major change constituted an upgrade, then everything would be an upgrade, nullifying the bidding rules."

The judge also cited e-mail among RRQ employees, which he said showed evidence of improvisation and bias towards Microsoft products.

"Give me reasons to justify each product, anything you come up with..." writes an employee, a comment that the judge conluded clearly indicates a lack of serious and documented research.

"I hope a free software expert from CGI comments on the answer we gave [to Cyrille Béraud]. Are the arguments sound? [...] I hope this conversation remains CONFIDENTIAL", asked the same employee later.

A process that surprises even the people of CGI. "I thought the objective was to compare the two solutions", writes the specialist approached by the RRQ. "In reality, they were asking for confirmation that Linux - OpenOffice was unsuitable. It wouldn't make sense for us to make such a conclusion since we promote just the opposite..."

This exchange, wrote the judge, "shows the spirit in which the RRQ operates in order to sidestep the requirement that it proceed via a bidding process...".

He also notes the RRQ's decision to publish the notice of its intentions in the middle of the Christmas season, on December 21st, 2007, demanding that interested parties submit comments before January 11th, 2008.

"Unfortunately for the RRQ's 'strategy', Mr. Béraud responded on December 25th, 2007", notes Judge Jacques.

The judge finds it unreasonable to retroactively cancel the transaction concluded in 2008, but finds all the same that it is "fair and necessary" to declare that the RRQ acted illegally in making this acquisition without serious and documented research. He conludes that the RRQ did not have the right to award this contract without a bidding process.

The RRQ's spokesperson, Herman Huot, indicated Thursday that the organization would take some days to study the decision.

As for the president of SFL, he explained that the trial "wasn't meant to harm RRQ or anyone else. We wanted to show that we were falling behind technologically. I hope that, since this judgment is nothing more than a declaration, the government won't appeal."

"We couldn't have hoped for more", he added. "I'd like to take this opportunity to solemnly call for all political parties and the Charest administration to consider the question of free software. Free software is technological independence, local jobs, less costly and more efficient systems."

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