Quebec government being sued, for buying Microsoft!

This certainly qualifies as an interesting development. CBC is reporting that FACIL, a non-profit organization that promotes the adoption of free software in Quebec, is suing the provincial government for buying Microsoft software. More specifically, they are alleging that Quebec's provincial government refuses to allow competing bids (including bids from free software vendors) in preference of large players like Microsoft. Allow me to quote from the CBC article.

"Quebec's open-source software association is suing the provincial government, saying it is giving preferential treatment to Microsoft Corp. by buying the company's products rather than using free alternatives. The lawsuit by Facil was lodged with the Quebec Superior Court on July 15 and made public on Wednesday. In it, the group says the provincial government has refused to entertain competing bids from all software providers, opting instead to supply public-sector departments with products bought from proprietary vendors such as Microsoft and Oracle Corp."

You can read the entire article on the CBC Website. You will also want to read FACIL's press release on this suit.

What do you think? Is FACIL doing the right thing? I've said many times that it's very nearly a crime that our governments and schools cry poverty when they spend a veritable fortune on proprietary software and its trappings. Is FACIL's action what's needed to force government to play nice with our tax dollars?

-- Marcel (Writer and Free Thinker at Large) Gagné
-- and


Marcel (Writer and Free Thinker at Large) Gagné AND


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So a non profit group sues

Tikiwiki's picture

So a non profit group sues the government but cringes at the site of it competitor?

some other concern

Anonymous's picture

I know this has nothing to do with what your talking about, but i want to say that the quebec government is so dumb and greedy that people who even want to go on vacation are taxes 2 times ,because the governemt does not even want to make people leave , listen up quebec get with the program or be embarresed.

Wow, didn't even know about

Billigflug's picture

Wow, didn't even know about it. Regarding your question you are right on the one hand. On the other hand they'd invest in the future and innovations so it would be a great contribution to sustainability.

Quebec government being sued, for buying Microsoft

PetertRay's picture

Not for buying Microsoft, but for not evaluating alternatives. One guy at my company who makes purchasing decisions doesn't trust it if he doesn't pay for it, so he doesn't even look at it. The loophole that allows the Quebec government to do the same thing MUST be closed. The government may well end up going with proprietary software, but first they must be forced to look at alternatives and to provide rock-solid reasons for their final choice, especially if they choose to pay for it when good, free alternatives are available.


Anonymous's picture

How about factoring in the cost of all the other issues that face an organization that chooses the open-source route:
- training costs
- support costs
- programing costs ~ ie: compatibility with archaic software (it is a government organization don't forget).

I wonder if microsoft isn't actually cheaper in the long run.

That's my 3 cents.

I think so

Edu's picture

First of all - FACIL means ease in Portuguese. But, for sure, they will not face the things easily. M$ costs $$$$$ and sale the myth of they do the better and the right software. The M$ people will hurry run to convince the Government about it.

But, it's not so complicated to understand the math involved on those issues.

Let's get just the PC OS(Windows)+Office pack, for us do a little calculus:

Each M$Office costs about U$300 + Win another U$200 - total U$500 per Computer.

Quebec may have about 5000 PC computers(just a guess)

If my numbers are not so wrong, let's calculate ---

5000(computers) X 500(Win+Off) = U$2,500,000.00

Ok, we have at least Open Office + Linux(a large variety of flavors) able to do the same - FOR FREE !!!!

Other approach... If Quebec have, at least, 5000 computers in a network. The need to use Servers and servers must run Win server OS...
Each Server OS costs about U$700, licenses for each 5 users.

So, Quebec must to buy about 1000 licenses and cost will be - 1,000 X U$700 = 700,000.00 Ok, a discount and U$ 500,000.00 seems as a good value - Once again Free and costless options are available.

So, for the Quebec use 5000 PC's they must to pay about U$3,000,000.00

Just to turn the machines On, write, letters, send/receive e-mails, etc.

Since we have cheaper and/or costless alternatives, to do it, in my point of view, FACIL are absolutely right to ask for the gov to use these money in a better way, in education, health, security, etc.


What's the law say?

Anonymous's picture

If the law says that competing bids must be entertained and the provincial gov't is 'discarding' or refusing those bids, then the provincial gov't is violating the law.

So long as FACIL is going after the gov't for violating the law, then they are doing the right thing. If there is no 'fairness in bidding' law, then the gov't is free to pick and choose the bids it wants to consider.

I hope...

rotten777's picture

...that I'm speaking for all people interested in FOSS and politics when I say: This should happen more often. Scrutiny on a public entity and its spending of tax money should be very emphasized.