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06 July 2009, 16:36

Interim decision in Swiss open source case

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The Swiss Federal Administrative Court has issued an interim verdict in a legal action brought by a group of open source companies against the Swiss Federal Office for Buildings and Logistics (BBL) for awarding a software procurement contract to Microsoft without a tendering process. The decision revokes the restraining order issued at the end of May, but only allows the BBL to continue to obtain such services from Microsoft as are necessary for ensuring the continued function of federal information systems.

According to the interim verdict, the BBL may now purchase software from Microsoft at its discretion, but does so at its own risk should the Federal Administrative Court subsequently declare the contract with Microsoft null and void. The complainants, which include Linux suppliers Red Hat, Univention and Collax, view the interim decision as a "significant interim success" and, stressed spokesperson Sven Leser, are "confident that the final verdict issued by the Federal Administrative Court will confirm this point of view and declare the contract between Microsoft and the Federal Government to be null and void."

Legislation requiring federal contracting agencies to treat open source software on an equal footing with proprietary software has been in place in Switzerland since 2004.


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