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<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<html newsdate="2016-11-10">
<title>Russian Bill makes Free Software a Public Priority</title>
<h1>Russian Bill makes Free Software a Public Priority</h1>
Legislators have drafted
<a href="http://asozd2.duma.gov.ru/addwork/scans.nsf/ID/15186D4536B068A54325804200466D57/$File/1187178-6.PDF?OpenElement">a bill</a>
that will boost Free Software on multiple levels within the Russian
Federation's public sector.</p>
<p>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
<p>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.</p>
<p>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
<p>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.</p>
<p>"[...]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 платформу[...]"</p>
<p>English translation:</p>
<p>[...]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[...]</p>
<p>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
<a href="https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html">the four freedoms</a>
may be legally labelled as "Free Software":</p>
<p>"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."</p>
<p>English translation:</p>
<p>"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."</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>"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."</p>
<tag key="front-page"/>
<tag key="policy"/>
<tag key="procurement"/>