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The Register: Can France drive open source as Europe's standard?

Oct 29, 1999, 14:42 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by John Lettice)

"The French move to make open source software the official state standard, proposal 495, has created a great deal of interest, not to say scepticism. Are the two senators behind 495 mavericks who'll be ignored? Is this a classic French trick designed to boost French companies and undermine les americains? Will it happen, and if so, will the model sweep Europe?"

"To some extent you could answer yes to each of the above. Elected representatives, as Al Gore and Tony Blair abundantly illustrate, are seldom well-informed, altruistic evangelists when it comes to IT, and the fact that Senators Laffitte and Tregouet seem astonishingly well-informed doesn't mean that France is brimful of other politicians who are. So even if the pair get at least some aspects of their proposal adopted, there's a substantial risk that it will be implemented in such a way as to help France, and French industry..."

"Laffitte himself seems to anticipate a faster road to law for the proposal; he suggested recently that after thorough debate it could be added as an extension to a pending law giving legal status to digital signatures. That would likely give it a faster and easier passage, but the closer the proposal gets to reality, the more likely it is to run into opposition, especially once Microsoft's woken up to the implications."

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