Upside: French law would increase code accessibility

“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

“‘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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