Translation of to english (fwd)

Greg Tourte greg at
Sun May 5 16:45:21 UTC 2002

Hello there, A riend of mine translated into english the letter from
microsoft to th eperuvian congressman, so here it is! Enjoy.

DISCLAIMER: the translation hasn't been done by a professional:-) but it
is I think good enough to give a perfectly good idea of the content! So
please, don't bother flaming, revisions are however welcomed.

Hi Greg.

Here's a rough translation of the letter from Microsoft Corp. to 'a
Peruvian congressman' on the subject of the proposed Free Software Law.

Editorial/particularly uncertain bits are in []'s.

Disclaimer: Spanish is my n+1th language, where n is a sufficiently large
number to permit considerable uncertainty.


etonkin at

San Isidro, 21 of March of 2002


Edgar Villanueva Nun~ez

Congressman of the Republic

Present. -

Dear Sirs:

[complicated first paragraph- spanish person, help out!] 

Firstly, we should like to thank you for the opportunity that we have been
offered to make known how we have been working in this country [for the?]
benefit/advantage/profit of the public sector, always looking for the
optimal alternatives, that allow the implementation of programs that
permit the consolidation of the initiatives of modernization and
transparency of the State. Indeed, due to our meeting today, you are aware
of our advances on an international level in the design of new services
for the citizen, within a State that respects and protects the author's

This, as we discussed, is part of a world-wide initiative. Nowadays, a
number of experiences exist that have allowed collaboration with programs
to support both the State and the community, towards the adoption of
technology as an strategic element[?], that has an impact on the quality
of life of the citizens.

On the other hand, during this meeting, we attended the Forum made at the
Congress of the Republic the 6 of March, with regard to the legal proposal
that you lead, where we could listen to the different presentations. It is
due to this that we explain our position, in order that you have a fuller
overview of the real situation.

1. The plan establishes the obligation that all public [state]
organisations must use free software exclusively, which is to say open
source code, which transgresses on the principle of equality before the
law, of nondiscrimination and the rights of free private initiative,
freedom of industry and protected contracts [contracting, in the sense of 
hiring...] within the constitution.

2. The plan, whilst making the use of open source software an obligation,
would establish discriminatory and noncompetetive treatment in the hiring
and acquisition of public organisations, contravening the basic principles
of Law 26850 of Hirings and Acquisitions of the State.

3. Thus, while forcing the State to favor a model of businesses that would
support exclusively open source software, the project would be
discouraging to the local and international manufacturers that are those
that make significant (important) investments, create a significant number
of positions (jobs), directly and indirectly, besides contributing to the
GIP [was the translation I found - gross internal product? PBI in Spanish]
- versus the open source software model, that tends to have an less
significant economic impact because it creates jobs mainly in the service 

4. The proposed law imposes the use of open source software without
considering the dangers that this can entail, from the point of view of
security, guarantee [EULA?!] and possible violation of the Intellectual
Property rights of third parties.

5. The plan mishandles the concept of open source software, as this does
not necessarily imply that it is either free software or of zero cost,
causing ambiguous conclusions on the possible savings made by the State,
without considering the cost/benefit maintenance [sustento costo
beneficio???] consideration [required to] validate this position.

[Total cost of ownership consideration, I think]

6. It is a mistake to believe that open source software is free. The
Gartner Group (a well-known group researching the technology market
at a world-wide level) have indicated that the cost of acquisition of
software (operating systems and applications, is reduced to only 8% of the
total cost that companies and institutions must assume as a result of the
real-world use of the technology. The other 92% constitute: costs of
implementation, qualification, support, maintenance, administration and 
[inoperatividad... operation?].

7. One of the arguments on which the plan is based is the supposed
freeness [as in beer] of open source software, compared with the cost
of the commercial software, without considering that there exist forms
of licencing by volume [multi-user licencing] that can be very
advantageous for the state, as has been obtained in other countries.

8. Additionally, the alternative suggested by the plan is:
i) clearly more expensive due to the high cost of migration
ii) poses a risk to the compatibility and interoperability of the
information systems within the State, and between the State and the
private sector, given the hundreds of versions that exist of open source
software within the market

9. Open source software generally does not offer adequate levels of
support or the guarantee of recognised manufacturers to achieve greater
productivity on the part of the users, which has caused several public
organisations to back down on the decision to use open source software -
they are using commercial software in its place.

10. The plan would lower the incentive for creativity on the part of the
Peruvian software industry, that sees 40 million US dollars per year,
4 million US dollars of export (10mo. in [nontraditional export product
ranking?], more than crafts), and is as previously discussed a major
employer. Laws that stimulate the use of open source software cause
software programmers to lose their intellectual property rights and their
main source of payment. 

11. Open source software, due to the ability of free [as in beer]
distribution, cannot be exported in such a way that it generates income
for developers. For this reason, there is no benefit to be gained from
selling the software to other countries and therefore adversely affects
the growth of the industry. This is contrary to the normal motivation of a
Government - to stimulate local industry.

12. During the forum, the importance of the use of open source software
was discussed, but the failure of this initiative in, for example, Mexico,
was not mentioned. There, the civil employees of the State where the
project was attempted today state that open source software did not permit
a learning experience to students in the school, that they did not realise
the qualification levels required on the national level to give suitable
support to the platform, and that the software did not provide an adequate
level of integration for the system which exists in schools.

13. If open source software satisfies all the requirements of the State
entities, why is there any necessity to pass a law guaranteeing its
adoption? Would the free market not decide of its own accord which
products give most benefits or best value?

I am very thankful for your attention on this matter. We would like to
restate our interest in meeting with you in order to present in more
detail our points of view on the subject of the plan that you have
presented. We are at your disposition to share our experiences and
information; we trust that this will contribute to a better analysis and
implementation of an initiative that has, for objective, the modernization
and transparency of the State, in benefit of its citizens.

Yours sincerely,

Juan Alberto Gonza'lez

General Manager

Microsoft Peru 

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