"Respuesta a Microsoft"

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Marc Hedlund
May. 02, 2002 01:38 PM

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URL: http://www.gnu.org.pe/resmseng.html...

An amazing document, written by Dr. Edgar David Villanueva Nuñez, Congressman of the Republica of Perú, to the General Manager of Microsoft, Perú, about the "Free Software in Public Administration" bill, which would require all Perúvian government offices to use free software. (Link via MetaFilter.)
The basic principles which inspire the Bill are linked to the basic guarantees of a state of law, such as:
  • Free access to public information by the citizen.
  • Permanence of public data.
  • Security of the State and citizens.
To guarantee the free access of citizens to public information, it is indespensable that the encoding of data is not tied to a single provider. The use of standard and open formats gives a guarantee of this free access, if necessary through the creation of compatible free software.
To guarantee the permanence of public data, it is necessary that the usability and maintenance of the software does not depend on the goodwill of the suppliers, or on the monopoly conditions imposed by them. For this reason the State needs systems the development of which can be guaranteed due to the availability of the source code.
To guarantee national security or the security of the State, it is indispensable to be able to rely on systems without elements which allow control from a distance or the undesired transmission of information to third parties. Systems with source code freely accessible to the public are required to allow their inspection by the State itself, by the citizens, and by a large number of independent experts throughout the world. Our proposal brings further security, since the knowledge of the source code will eliminate the growing number of programs with *spy code*.
In the same way, our proposal strengthens the security of the citizens, both in their role as legitimate owners of information managed by the state, and in their role as consumers. In this second case, by allowing the growth of a widespread availability of free software not containing *spy code* able to put at risk privacy and individual freedoms.

The entire document is well worth a read. I'd be interested to see the letter from Microsoft that prompted this response.

Marc Hedlund is an entrepreneur working on a personal finance startup, Wesabe.