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Upside: French law would increase code accessibility

Apr 30, 2000, 03:27 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Sam Williams)

"Things got off to an interesting start Monday. That's when I woke up to find an email from French deputé (as in Chambre des Deputés) Jean-Yves Le Déaut, telling me about his latest "proposition of law," an amendment to the European Union Software Law of 1991 that mandates source-code accessibility and open standards for all software sold within the French state."

"...Despite the glowing endorsement of both free software and the principles of software liberty, free software advocates such as Richard Stallman gave the overall text of the law mixed reviews."

"'Its criterion, that source code be available, is considerably weaker than our definition of free software and also considerably weaker than the [Open Source Initiative's] definition of open-source software,' wrote Stallman via email. 'In practice, though, I think this law will do almost as much good. The programs for which source code is available but which are not free software, such as Star Office and Solaris, are few.'"

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