Did Canada Just Rule In Favor of Open Source?
In recent years, numerous governments and government entities around the world have issued mandates regarding increased adoption of open source software. We've written about the trend from numerous angles, but one of the more interesting spins on this trend has just occurred, as reported by Savoir-faire Linux. A Canadian court ruled that Quebec broke the law when it migrated 800 workstations to Microsoft software without performing a "serious and documented search" for alternatives.
While the Canadian court decision didn't bring any damages to Savior-faire Linux, the case served as a proof-of-concept for government support of open source software. It's also worth noting, though, that "alternatives" implies more than just pure open source software. As Dana Blankenhorn notes:
"While this decision is welcome as a sign of fairness, I wonder whether the way forward should perhaps include SaaS. When you’re getting software on the Internet no one knows it’s a dog. No one knows its heritage, no one cares about the operating system."
Lately, I've been using a MacBook Pro with VMware Fusion on it so that I can run both the Mac and Windows operating systems. Under both, I have lots of open source software installed. We're quickly moving toward a world where, from the cloud to virtualization to open source platforms, there are lots of alternatives to the software status quo.
The Canadian decision is being widely interpreted as a win for open source. Perhaps more accurately, what it is is a win for the idea of alternatives to Microsoft's software, which still dominates on nine in 10 business desktops.