Posted by: commonsresource | June 4, 2010

FACIL does not mean easy – court rules that Quebec broke law buying Microsoft software

Peter Nowak of CBC News reported yesterday 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.”  In a report entitled Quebec broke law in buying Microsoft software, Peter explains that the decision by Judge Denis Jacques arose from a lawsuit filed in 2008 (which I believe was originally by FACIL, a Quebec group that promotes open source software) to challenge a procurement activity which began back in 2006.

This story, picked up in a well-tweeted Yahoo News post entitled Open source Linux wins Quebec court case against Microsoft,, is a cautionary tale for government and public agency procurement groups and procurement guidelines in the area of open source and commercial software. While the “good faith” procurement decision was not reversed in this instance, the decision is a fairly firm rebuke to the Quebec government and Savoir Faire Linux was awarded its legal costs for the litigation.

While I will confess that I was voiced concern about FACIL’s “hard ball litigation tactic” when the suit was first filed, I am pleased to be proven wrong (pending appeal!) While FACIL does not mean easy and while public procurement battles are far from, Judge Jacques’ decision is a pretty good public sector sign and sign post on the open source software journey!


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