Lesson from Uruguay
22 July 2013
A bill now under consideration in Uruguay showed the Free Software
Foundation an important point that was missing in our list of
recommended government policies to promote free software.
The bill says that when the state develops or contracts for
development of software, this software must be developable in
a 100%-free-software environment.
This requirement avoids problems that can really happen. Even if
the source code of the solution is delivered as free software,
and can run on a 100%-free-software GNU/Linux system, it could be
trapped in other ways.
For example, compiling its source code could require a nonfree program.
Even editing its source code could require a nonfree program. Both
of these problems can occur when a nonfree IDE is used, and this
would create additional obstacles to migrating the state to free software.
It is wise and proper for the law to reject these methods of developing
computing solutions for the state.
Taking this into consideration, the FSF has updated its recommendations
for government policies to suggest that contracts require that solutions
be developable in 100%-free-software environments.