[FSFE PR][FR] Russian Bill makes Free Software a Public Priority

press at fsfeurope.org press at fsfeurope.org
Thu Nov 10 13:52:39 CET 2016

 = Russian Bill makes Free Software a Public Priority =

[ Version en ligne: https://fsfe.org/news/2016/news-20161110-01.fr.html ]

Legislators have drafted a bill[1] that will boost Free Software on
multiple levels within the Russian Federation's public sector.

The draft, approved by the Russian Federation's Duma (lower chamber) in
mid-October, requires the public sector to prioritise Free Software over
proprietary alternatives, gives precedence to local IT businesses that
offer Free Software for public tenders, and recognises the need to
encourage collaboration with the global network of Free Software
organisations and communities.

The text enforces prioritising Free Software over proprietary
alternatives by requiring public administrations to formally justify any
purchase of proprietary software. The purchase will be considered
unjustified if a Free Software solution exists that satisfies the list
of technical specifications and standards. In addition, all IT purchase
agreements in the public sphere must be registered in a dedicated
registrar and detail the overall quantity and price of both purchased
proprietary and Free Software.

In order to encourage local businesses, IT companies that distribute and
provide Free Software products and services will by default receive
bonus points in public tenders. With this measure, legislators intend to
reduce the administration's dependency on foreign IT providers of
proprietary software.

Despite the above, the bill also recognises the universality of Free
Software. As the legislators acknowledge in explanatory notes appended
to the text, the concept of "Russian Free Software" is meaningless due
to the global nature of Free Software. The text recognises the need to
support Russian Free Software companies in order to better integrate
into global Free Software communities.

    "[...]законопроект предлагает тем самым уйти от понятия «российское
    СПО», поскольку наборы программных кодов, открытых по разного вида
    свободным лицензиям, представляют собой по сути единую мировую

    English translation:

    [...]the draft bill suggests to withhold the concept of "Russian
    Free Software", because the source code available under different
    open licences represents in essence one global platform[...]

Another interesting aspect of the law is how the authors of the bill
have made an extra effort to ensure the language used in the draft are
correct. For one, only software carrying licenses that allow the four
freedoms[2] may be legally labelled as "Free Software":

    "Свободное программное обеспечение (СПО) - программное обеспечение,
    имеющее открытый исходный код и распространяемое по открытым
    лицензиям на условиях специального лицензионного договора, на
    основании которого пользователь получает неограниченное право на его
    установку, запуск, а также свободное использование, изучение,
    распространение и изменение (модификацию) по своему усмотрению в
    любых, не запрещенных законом целях."

    English translation:

    "Free Software - software which is open source and distributed under
    open licences based on special licensing contract terms, allowing a
    user unrestricted right to install, run, use, study, distribute and
    modify it freely, according to one's needs and for purposes that are
    not restricted by law."

Secondly, every time the bill text refers to the most famous free
operating system, it refers to it as "GNU/Linux", not simply "Linux".
This indicates an awareness not commonly found amongst authors of
national legislations.

"The bill is an example of public software procurement done right." says
Polina Malaja, Policy Analyst and Legal Coordinator at the FSFE. "The
FSFE has long advised having all public administrations prioritise Free
Software and recommended that all software developed by and for the
public sector be published under a Free Software licence. As the authors
of the Russian bill have come to realise, without Free Software public
administrations will never be able to claim they have real digital
sovereignty. Other European administrations should take note."

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 1. http://asozd2.duma.gov.ru/addwork/scans.nsf/ID/15186D4536B068A54325804200466D57/%24File/1187178-6.PDF?OpenElement
 2. https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html

  == About the Free Software Foundation Europe ==

  Free Software Foundation Europe is a charity that empowers users to
  control technology. Software is deeply involved in all aspects of our
  lives; and it is important that this technology empowers rather than
  restricts us. Free Software gives everybody the rights to use,
  understand, adapt and share software. These rights help support other
  fundamental freedoms like freedom of speech, press and privacy.

  The FSFE helps individuals and organisations to understand how Free
  Software contributes to freedom, transparency, and self-determination.
  It enhances users' rights by abolishing barriers to Free Software
  adoption, encourage people to use and develop Free Software, and
  provide resources to enable everyone to further promote Free Software
  in Europe.


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