Draft law promotes free software in Bulgaria

By EDRi · April 9, 2003

A draft law, currently discussed in parliament in Bulgaria, will oblige all
governmental institutions to use free software and open formats with their
computer information systems within 2 years. The law addresses all state
bodies, mayors of municipalities and regions, higher schools, medical
establishments, non-profit legal entities as well as other bodies and
entities that receive governmental funding. A permit of exception from this
obligation can only be procured on a case-by-case basis, if no free
software is available for a specific purpose.

In the Bulgarian definition, free software must allow for:

– Unlimited use of the software for all purposes;
– Unlimited access to the source code;
– Comprehensive check of its mechanisms of operation;
– Use of internal mechanisms and of any arbitrary part of it, so that it
can be adapted to the needs of the user;
– Production and public distribution of its copies;
– Modification and free distribution of changes as well as of the newly
designed software under the same conditions as those of the original.

If adopted, the law would bring about a remarkable change of policy. Only a
year ago, Minister of the State Administration Dimitar Kalchev triumphantly
announced a new contract with Microsoft for the provision of software to
the state administration. In total, in 3 years Bulgaria would have to pay
USD 8,400,000 (EUR 7,862,245) to Microsoft.

Press release ‘The contract with Microsoft is one of the most advantageous
contracts sealed in the country’ (14.06.2002)

A copy of the draft law is available through Veni Markovski – veni at veni.com.