Two Victories for Linux at The CITT (Canadian
International Trade Tribunal)
PLCom has won two rulings from the CITT (Canadian International
Trade Tribunal) against two separate Canadian government procurement
solicitations that attempted to mandate Microsoft-only Server software
specifications in their Request for Proposals (RFPs).
These CITT rulings secure the right for Canadian suppliers to bid
Linux-based database applications in both instances.
The Tribunal determinations have also established a precedent setting
legal framework in Canadian administrative law that compels Canadian
government agencies and departments to issue technical specifications
based on recognized Open Standard Protocols rather than proprietary
software brand names.
- Library of Parliament (direct
link to CITT decision)
- On August 14, 2001 , the CITT released its reasons for its July 24th
ruling that the Library of Parliament was guilty of discrimination and had
breached Sections 501, 504 and 506 of a Canadian procurement law, the
Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT). PLCom had filed a formal complaint to
the CITT on March 13,2001, arguing that the Library of Parliament was in
breach of the AIT because, amongst other things, it had specified
Microsoft NT Server as the only acceptable OS platform for an Intranet-
based database application. The fact that the Library's RFP relied upon
Microsoft brand names as a proxy for technical specifications, rather than
using open standards-based criteria, led the Tribunal to issue its finding
- The Department of Public Works and
- On May 30, 2001, after considerable debate between the interested
parties, the CITT ruled that PLCom's original complaint was valid.
Dispite these two victories, the procurements in question have not moved
forward. The cases were won, but the government departments "took their
ball and went home".
There is a government accountability issue here that must be
addressed. The problem with brand names and high tech monopolies being
promoted by the Canadian Government, especially Industry Canada, is
not an isolated incident.
The library of parliament is unfortuantely a special case in that it is
arms length from parliament (IE: there is no minister to hold responsible,
and questions can only be asked in parliament via the speaker). There has
been some movement to hold the library accountable, but this process is
slow. See the Hansard for October 30,
government accountability - Letter to MP from Russell McOrmond, which
was copied to online forum/archive.
- "Parliamentary Library defies trade tribunal" (Accused of favouring
Microsoft, library won't seek new bids for news service; Budget blown
fighting tender challenge), Ottawa Citizen,
Page A1/Front and , National Post, Page A5
Tuesday 28 August 2001
Post article referenced by Library and Information Science News
link to Aug 28 Citizen article. (Includes talkback)
- Newsworld Interview (VIA plcom.on.ca): stream or download.
Use of Linux - badly worded reference to this issue. The reference
says "Richard Lamothe of P&L Communications sued and won the right to
force the Canadian Library of Parliament to consider replacing their
brand-new Windows system with a Linux system".
This is false. This was a procurement for a new computer system that
simply needed to be compatable with an installed base of computer. This
was an Internet standards based server platform (TCP/IP, HTTP), and as is
proven by server usage on the Internet (vast majority running Apache and
Unix), this is compatable with any installed base.
from the September 2001 issue of Monitor Magazine included a
reference to this story.
McOrmond's submission to the 2001 copyright reform, under "Potential
conflicts with other Public Policy".
IT in the CITT article by Paul M. Lalonde in the spring 2002 issue of
Summit - Focus on IT (Page
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