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Open Source

French Parliament Votes To Give Priority To Free Software 98

An anonymous reader writes "The French Parliament just wrote into law the first instance of Free Software priority in a public service, by adopting the Bill on Higher Education and Research. [Advocacy association April], after extensively contributing to the debate, especially welcomes this vote and congratulates Deputies and Senators for recognizing the importance of Free Software in the Public Service for Higher Education, since it alone can ensure equal access to the future public service. April hopes that this first step will be followed by other legislation in favor of Free Software. It also thanks all the persons who mobilized and contacted the Parliament Members."
The Courts

Twitter Sued For $50M For Refusing To Identify Anti-Semitic Users 335

redletterdave writes "After a French civil court ruled on Jan. 24 that Twitter must identify anyone who broke France's hate speech laws, Twitter has since refused to identify the users behind a handful of hateful and anti-Semitic messages, resulting in a $50 million lawsuit. Twitter argues it only needs to comply with U.S. laws and is thus protected by the full scope of the First Amendment and its free speech privileges, but France believes its Internet users should be subject to the country's tighter laws against racist and hateful forms of expression."

France Demands Skype Register As a Telco 209

jfruh writes "Skype made a name for itself by largely bypassing the infrastucture — and the costs, and the regulations — of the legacy telecommunications industry. But now the French telecom regulator wants to change that, at least in France. At issue is not the service's VoIP offering, but rather the Skype Out service that allows users to dial phones on traditional networks. Regulators say that this service necessitates that Skype face the same regulations as other telecoms."

France Tells Its Citizens To Abandon IE, Others Disagree 406

Freistoss writes "Microsoft still has not released a patch for a major zero-day flaw in IE6 that was used by Chinese hackers to attack Google. After sample code was posted on a website, calls began for Microsoft to release an out-of-cycle patch. Now, France has joined Germany in recommending its citizens abandon IE altogether, rather than waiting for a patch. Microsoft still insists IE8 is the 'most secure browser on the market' and that they believe IE6 is the only browser susceptible to the flaw. However, security researchers warned that could soon change, and recommended considering alternative browsers as well." PCWorld seems to be taking the opposite stance arguing that blaming IE for attacks is a dangerous approach that could cause a false sense of security.

French Military Contributes To Thunderbird 3 379

fredboboss sends news about Mozilla's email client Thunderbird 3, whose release we noted last week. "Thunderbird 3 contains code from the French military, which decided the open source product was more secure than Microsoft's rival Outlook. The French government is beginning to move to other open source software, including Linux instead of Windows and OpenOffice instead of Microsoft Office. Thunderbird 3 used some of the code from TrustedBird, a generalized and co-branded version of Thunderbird with security extensions built by the French military."
The Internet

EU Paves the Way For Three-Strikes Cut-Off Policy 272

Mark.JUK writes "The European Parliament has surrendered to pressure from Member States (especially France) by abandoning amendment 138, a provision adopted on two occasions by an 88% majority of the plenary assembly, and which aimed to protect citizens' right to Internet access. The move paves the way for an EU wide policy supporting arbitrary restrictions of Internet access. Under the original text any restriction of an individual could only be taken following a prior judicial ruling. The new update has completely removed this, meaning that governments now have legal grounds to force Internet providers (ISPs) into disconnecting their customers from the Internet (i.e. such as when 'suspected' of illegal p2p file sharing)."

French President Violates His Own Copyright Law, Again 356

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been caught violating someone's copyright again. This time, presidential services made 400 unauthorized copies of a DVD when only 50 had been made by the publisher. Mr. Sarkozy, of course, is the one pushing the HADOPI law, which would disconnect the Internet service of an alleged pirate after three allegations of infringement. This isn't the first time he's been connected to copyright violations, either. His party had to pay some €30K for using a song without authorization. If he were he subject to his own law, Mr. Sarkozy would be subject to having his Net disconnected the next time he pirates something."
GNU is Not Unix

GPL Wins In French Court Case 266

viralMeme writes "An appeals court in Paris has upheld the ruling from a lower court, which found that the French firm Edu4 had violated the GNU General Public License (GPL). The plaintiff was the French Organisation Association francaise pour la Formation Professionnelle des Adultes (AFPA), an umbrella organization for adult education." The basic charge was the removal of copyrights and such from VNC source code, and not distributing it.

France Passes Harsh Three-Strikes Legislation, Again 207

shrik writes "After having it struck down as 'unconstitutional' by the Conseil Constitutionnel once, Sarkozy's controversial 'three-strikes' law (known as HADOPI) was once again passed by the French National Assembly, this time allowing for a judge to order the disconnection (without requiring the presence of the accused party!), thus placating some of the administrative concerns. Opponents say they will 'challenge the law again in front of the Constitutional Council because it deprives the accused of being able to defend themselves properly.' Coverage at Ars also points out a provision that says, 'all Internet users must keep their connections 'secure' and are responsible for what happens on them.'"

In France, Fired For Writing To MP Against 3 Strikes 379

neurone333 sends along the cause célèbre of the moment in France: a Web executive working for TF1, Europe's largest TV network, sends an email to his Member of Parliament opposing the government's "three strikes and you're out" proposal, known as Hadopi. His MP forwards the email to the minister backing Hadopi, who forwards it to TF1. The author of the email, Jérôme Bourreau-Guggenheim, is called into his boss's office and shown an exact copy of his email. Soon he receives a letter saying he is fired for "strong differences with the [company's] strategy" — in a private email sent from a private (gmail) address. French corporations and government are entangled in ways that Americans might find unfamiliar. Hit the link below for some background on the ties between TF1 and the Sarkozy government.
Linux Business

French Police Save Millions Switching To Ubuntu 368

Ynot_82 writes "The French national police force, the Gendarmerie Nationale, has spoken about their migration away from the Windows platform to Linux. Estimated to have already saved the force 50 Million Euros, the migration is due to be completed on all 90,000 workstations by 2015. Of the move, Lt. Col. Guimard had this comment: '"Moving from Microsoft XP to Vista would not have brought us many advantages and Microsoft said it would require training of users. Moving from XP to Ubuntu, however, proved very easy. The two biggest differences are the icons and the games. Games are not our priority."'"

Internet Pirates In France To Lose Broadband 388

slyjackhammer writes "France is purporting to take a hard line on copyrighted media (movies and music). According to, a new measure approved yesterday by the French Cabinet would kill the Internet connection to those caught downloading illegally. 'There is no reason that the internet should be a lawless zone," President Sarkozy told his Cabinet yesterday as it endorsed the "three-strikes-and-you're-out" scheme that from next January will hit illegal downloaders where it hurts. Under a cross-industry agreement, internet service providers (ISPs) must cut off access for up to a year for third-time offenders.' Google and video site Dailymotion have refused to sign up as consenting participants, and the state data protection agency, consumer and civil liberties groups and the European Parliament are all kicking against the goad as well. France may be pioneer in this kind of legislation, but they sure have their work cut out for them."
Linux Business

Some European Moves Towards Linux 181

Readers VE3OGG and FFFFHALTFFFF write in with three pieces of a global picture that is emerging of governments and corporations moving away from Microsoft and towards open source. First, France: the French automaker Peugot Citroen has announced that over the next several years they will be integrating up to 20,000 Novell SUSE desktops as well as 2,500 SUSE servers into their facilities. (Let's hope that, in Novell, Peugeot Citroen hasn't bought a lemon.) Next, Sweden: the Swedish Armed Forces has made a decision to migrate its Windows NT servers to Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Finally, Russia. VE3OGG writes: "It would seem that after the recent Russian piracy debacle that could see a school headmaster jailed in a Siberian work camp for purchasing pirated copies of Windows for his school, the Ministry of Education in Russia has decided that the school boards will no longer be purchasing any commercial software."

French Kids Get OSS on USB Sticks 313

daria42 writes "To help make kids aware of alternatives to proprietary software the Ile-de-France, the political district of greater Paris, will give 175,000 school children and apprentices USB keys loaded with open-source software. With a word-processing program, audio and video playback capabilities, an email client and an IM client, these are essentially computers on a stick. The council touts this as 'represent[ing] for students a tool of freedom and mobility between their school, cybercafes and their home or friends' PCs'." With the prevalence of internet cafes in Europe, that might work better than in the US ... but do you think such a project would work here as well? If so, what software would you want to see loaded up?

I have a theory that it's impossible to prove anything, but I can't prove it.