portuguese resolution on free software

Graham Seaman graham at theseamans.net
Sat Oct 2 21:10:12 UTC 2004


The Portuguese parliament (Assembleia da Republica) recently passed an 
advisory motion on free software (proposed by the Communist Party, but 
with cross party support). You can find the original at 
http://www.pcp.pt/ar/legis-9/projres/pjr255.htm. There is 
some (portuguese language) discussion of the resolution, together with 
the text of supporting speeches by other deputies in the ANSOL free 
software list 

I haven't seen anything about this in any language other than 
Portuguese, so I thought I would translate it.
The translation below is completely unofficial; I hope it's of some 
interest for the list, but you might want to get it verified by a native 
Portuguese speaker before using it for anything..

Draft resolution no. 255/1X
Recommends that the government take measures to develop Free Software in 

  1. Software plays an ever more pivotal role in administrative, 
political, and economic activities. As such it is essential to guarantee 
that these activities - which are fundamental for the development and 
sovereignty of the country - should not be subject to a monopoly of 
private bodies, and that it should be possible to guarantee the 
independence of the state in relation to proprietary formats and 
software suppliers who may close or discontinue their software at any 
  2. The concept of Free Software is based on four fundamental 
principles of freedom for the user, defined by the 'Free Software 
Foundation' in the following way:
         * The freedom to run the program, for any purpose.
         * The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to 
your needs.
         * The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your 
         * The freedom to improve the program, and release your 
improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits.
           Access to the source code is essential to make these four 
freedoms possible.
  3. Free Software, insofar as it guarantees access to the original 
source code, not only allows this independence but also brings 
significant savings when used in public administration, since it does 
not require the payment of licences for its use. It also allows it to be 
verified without question that the software fulfills only the tasks for 
which it was designed, with no hidden functions which might place at 
risk either sovereignty or the national economy.
  4. Adaptation of the various resource centres for information 
technology, in the framework of the public educational network, to 
permit the mandatory availability of Free Software solutions for 
students and teaching staff.
  5. Inclusion of material relating to Free Software in the definition 
of the various curricula and programmes for teaching of information 
technology in primary and secondary education, identifying in the 
curricula and programmes any currently existing references to products 
or trade names of commercial software, with the aim of their compulsory 
substitution by corresponding generic descriptions.
  6. Establishment of research grants and support programmes for 
research and development projects; translation into Portuguese 
(converting into Portuguese the technical and scientific terminology 
involved); and application of Free Software solutions, in the area of 
higher education and research or scientific institutions.
  7. Integration of the Free Software field in programmes for 
encouragement and support for technological change, especially for SMEs, 
as well as in initiatives for publicizing information technology to the 
associational movement (youth, culture, sport, recreation etc).
  8. Interoperability between different computing applications is 
essential for the proper functioning of the state, and it is essential 
that these are not dependent on the proprietary formats of private 
companies. The initiative of the European Commission for the electronic 
exchange of information between administrations (IDA) gives especial 
relevance to the use of Free Software in this activity, having even 
created a Free Software Observatory.
  9. The 'eEurope 2005' programme of the European Union recommends the 
use of open source software in various sectors, in particular e-government.
 10. As well as take-up by public administration, it is also desireable 
to motivate private companies to use this software model, as a way of 
energizing the national economy and making it independent of private 
 11. Free Software is a source of work for Portuguese programmers as it 
is for the micro, small, and medium portuguese computing enterprises; 
not only at the level of software development but also in providing 
technical support for these and other applications which have the same 
philosophy of implementation and distribution.
 12. The use of Free Software in teaching not only allows a reduction 
of costs in the use of information technology, but also allows access to 
detailed information on the inner workings of the software used by 
computing students, guaranteeing an quality of opportunity in access 
since the student is not compelled to pay a licence for its use outside 
the school environment. It also ensures that the student does not become 
a mere operator of applications from any multinational company, but 
becomes a skilled technician, an essential factor in the development of 
the country.
 13. Free Software allows the easy translation into Portuguese of 
existing programmes, since the translation is not dependent on the good 
will of the supplying companies, or limited by any kind of licensing.

Therefore, taking into account the reasons laid out above, Parliament 
resolves, under the terms of clause 5 article 166 of the Constitution of 
the Portuguese Republic, to recommend that the Government carry out the 
following measures:

  1. Assembly of a 'White Book of Free Software in Portugal', which 
(among other aims) evaluates the current personnel, surveys trials in 
progress, and defines scenarios and lines of intervention.
  2. Development of a programme of definition and staffing of pilot 
projects for reference use of Free Software in public administratrion, 
in particular within the scope of the Unit for Information and Knowledge 
(UMIC), and of the Ministries of Culture, Education and Science, and 
Higher Education.
  3. Creation of a support service, staffed by UMIC, for technical 
support to the implementation of Free Software solutions in public 
  4. Integration of the field of Free Software in the area of 
incentives and programmes of support for administrative modernization of 
local councils, including in particular technical support, logistics, 
and training.
  5. Establishment of mandatory access to source code and data formats 
in the acquisition of computing solutions destined for use by public 
administration and other government bodies, for the exercise of 
sovereign functions and other areas of strategic importance.
  6. Development of an 'online library' which systematizes and brings 
up to date information on the range of Free Software solutions and 
applications, with particular attention to those in the Portuguese language.
  7. Adaptation of the various information technology resource centres 
in the public schools network with the aim of compulsorily making 
available Free Software solutions to students and teaching staff.
  8. Inclusion of material relating to Free Software in the definition 
of the various curricula and programmes for teaching of information 
technology in primary and secondary education, while identifying 
currently existing references in these curricula and programmes to trade 
names and products of commercial software, with the aim of their 
mandatory replacement by corresponding generic descriptions.
  9. Establishment of research grants and support programmes for 
research and development projects; translation into Portuguese 
(converting the technical and scientific terms involved to Portuguese); 
and application of Free Software solutions, in the area of higher 
education and research and scientific institutes.
 10. Integration of the Free Software field in programmes encouraging 
and supporting technological change in companies, especially SMEs; as 
also in initiatives to encourage information technology in the 
associationist movement (youth, culture, sports, recreation, etc).

Assembly of the Republic, May 26 2004

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