Getting into politics?

Nizar Kerkeni nizar.kerkeni at
Mon Jan 19 17:06:08 GMT 2009

As in Hungary and India, the Tunisian government had signed a deal
with Microsoft for licensing Windows and MS Office for the
government, all state offices, universities and schools. I think it's
a world wide action taken by Microsoft :/

2009/1/19 Jan Claeys <lists at>:
> Op zondag 18-01-2009 om 00:08 uur [tijdzone +0100], schreef Szilveszter
> Farkas:
>> Please let me introduce you the situation in Hungary. Last year the
>> government signed a 4-year, 25 + 10 billion HUF (more than 165M USD)
>> deal with Microsoft for licensing proprietary software covering the
>> government, all state offices, universities, schools, students and
>> teachers (yes, it covers almost the whole nation). This deal got some
>> attention by the international media, but only because of "the egging
>> of Steve Ballmer" at a Hungarian university:
>> The deal was brought to justice by the Hungarian "Economy Competition
>> Office" because the exact wording of the tender (that was won by
>> Microsoft and its retailers) said: "Microsoft or equal software" - it
>> goes against any common sense (and I'm pretty sure even some laws) to
>> name a company in a tender by the government. But the court said it
>> was okay.
>> Now, a few days ago another tender of the same value (25 billion HUF,
>> around 120M USD) was announced, and we were not surprised to see the
>> exact same wording like last year.
>> So a bunch of people and businesses, who are involved with FLOSS in
>> Hungary, plan to write an open letter to the prime minister
>> questioning him about the situation. Is it okay for a LoCo to sign a
>> letter like this? Or we should rather keep working, and avoid any
>> political issues?
> At least the individual members could sign it, and IMO if everybody
> agrees, the LoCoTeam could sign it too.
>> I really hope you could help us with some ideas about the situation...
>> We're a bit desperate, because we see other European governments
>> switching to FLOSS solutions, and ours locking itself into the
>> proprietary world even more.
> As Hungary is a member of the EU, they have to follow the EU rules, so
> you should also contact Neelie Kroes[1] who works on the MS antitrust
> case and whoever is in charge for fair competition for government
> contracts (internal market, it seems[2]).
> Of course, having questions asked about this in the EP might be good
> too.
> Some relevant parts from Directive 2004/18/EC [3]:
>      * "(8) Before launching a procedure for the award of a contract,
>        contracting authorities may, using a technical dialogue, seek or
>        accept advice which may be used in the preparation of the
>        specifications provided, however, that such advice does not have
>        the effect of precluding competition."
>      * "(29) The technical specifications drawn up by public purchasers
>        need to allow public procurement to be opened up to competition.
>        To this end, it must be possible to submit tenders which reflect
>        the diversity of technical solutions. Accordingly, it must be
>        possible to draw up the technical specifications in terms of
>        functional performance and requirements, and, where reference is
>        made to the European standard or, in the absence thereof, to the
>        national standard, tenders based on equivalent arrangements must
>        be considered by contracting authorities. To demonstrate
>        equivalence, tenderers should be permitted to use any form of
>        evidence. Contracting authorities must be able to provide a
>        reason for any decision that equivalence does not exist in a
>        given case. Contracting authorities that wish to define
>        environmental requirements for the technical specifications of a
>        given contract may lay down the environmental characteristics,
>        such as a given production method, and/or specific environmental
>        effects of product groups or services. They can use, but are not
>        obliged to use appropriate specifications that are defined in
>        eco-labels, such as the European Eco-label, (multi-)national
>        eco-labels or any other eco-label providing the requirements for
>        the label are drawn up and adopted on the basis of scientific
>        information using a procedure in which stakeholders, such as
>        government bodies, consumers, manufacturers, distributors and
>        environmental organisations can participate, and providing the
>        label is accessible and available to all interested parties.
>        Contracting authorities should, whenever possible, lay down
>        technical specifications so as to take into account
>        accessibility criteria for people with disabilities or design
>        for all users. The technical specifications should be clearly
>        indicated, so that all tenderers know what the requirements
>        established by the contracting authority cover."
> [1] <> (working on MS antitrust case)
> [2] <>
> [3] <>
> --
> Jan Claeys
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