Canada: Land of the Non-Free?

I’ve been seeing a bit about Canada recently, what with plastic-bottled water (more on that next month), the airline I used for my last trip (Zoom) going bust and stranding passengers and being a fan of Co-op Radio‘s documentaries, so I was particularly interested to see this news:

“FACIL, a non-profit association, which promotes the collective appropriation of Free Software, contests the Quebec government purchasing methods for software […]” (first seen at Lawsuit, etc – Diary of a CrazyFrench)

In England, discrimination against free software has been less obvious, with the whole national, county and district government system being officially open to free software (or rather, open source that meets gov.uk’s own definition of the term), but very biased towards large service providers. Like most countries, England doesn’t seem to have large pure-free-software service providers yet, so this usually means that the best we can do is get some mix of free and non-free software. This only gets beyond token gestures towards free software when lots of the project development and leadership is internal, as in nearby Bristol City Council, or the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

I’m surprised that Quebec has been overt enough to make a lawsuit possible and I’m very encouraged that FACIL is the group to do this. I’ll suggest to SPI and a few other groups that they should join to show support, but I don’t know whether the “political interventions” policy of FACIL will cause problems for non-profits.

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