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Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Computer Professionals' seeks Congress support for "Malayang Software"

Computer Professionals' seeks Congress support for "Malayang Software"
News Release
26 October 2004

The Computer Professionals' Union (CPU) has started consultation with the partylist group Bayan Muna for legislative support in the adoption of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in the country. The "Malayang Software" initiative is lead by the group for a Bazillian-like government support from the Macapagal-Arroyo administration. The province of Pernambuco,
Brazil passed the first law regarding the use of FOSS in March 2000. Eventually, Other provinces followed. In October 2003, the Free Software Implementation in the Federal Government was publised. This year, 80% of government computer purchases were aimed to support FOSS.

However, the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT), the highest policy making body on information and communications technology (ICT) has expressed "neutrality" in the use of software technology in the country. This neutrality stance is pushed by the Business Software Alliance, an alliance of big monopoly software companies.

"The neutrality stance of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology is blocking the wide adoption of FOSS," CPU spokesperson, Mr. Emil Cinco said. "The government should primarily consider what is more beneficial to the people and not be cowed that monopoly software companies loss their huge profits." The Business Software alliance earlier expressed that government preference for FOSS distorts competition.

"The use of FOSS in the government is a big impact to the country's small software companies and developers. This government wants us to remain dependent on big monopoly companies rather than develop local talents in software development." Mr. Cinco added. "The government has favored big monopoly companies to harness the countries budding software developers, through outsourcing rather than supporting local developers in competing with these monopoly giants."

CPU has consulted the office of Representative Teddy Casino on possible pre-emptive legislation against imposition of Monopoly software patenting and the support for FOSS in Congress. Monopoly software patenting is hotly debated in the European Union Parliament. On 18 May 2004 the European Council has presented a draft directive on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions which was met with growing opposition.

CPU added a local flavor to FOSS advocacy. The "Malayang Software" initiative is an equivalent of the widely popular "Software Libre" initiative in Brazil and other Latin American countries. "Filipino FOSS advocates and groups are uniting to pressure government and this legislative consultation is just a first step. We hope more more representatives support our effort." Mr. Cinco concluded. CPU is a member of Open Minds a local alliance of FOSS groups along with the Philippine Linux Users' Group and others. ###

Computer Professionals' Union

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