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

“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.”