This usually happens in other places, not in quiet, boring-without-any-tech-news Quebec province.
Apparently Montreal-based Savoir-faire Linux has had it, and have sent the Quebec Supreme Court a Motion for Declaratory Judgement. The Régie des Rentes du Québec wants to upgrade its desktops to Windows Vista from Windows 2000 without going through any RFPs, because, well, it is an upgrade.
The full documentation of the request (including emails exchanged between the RRQ and SFL), is available online at Cyrille Beraud’s (SFL’s CEO) blog. Cyrille has been blogging about the irregularities of Quebec’s government tech bidding processes for some time now. I’ve known him for some time and I actually almost worked at SFL at the time, but instead ended up at Canonical. If you know Cyrille at any level, you know he’s not joking about this.
This would be the first time (AFAIK) that a North-American company is taking legal action against the government by going to its highest legal instance and asking it to rule as illegal their ignoring of the bidding process of one of its own organizations. So, technically this is not suing our own government, but I hope this will bring some attention to the people and other levels of local government. Although there are some interesting efforts in our province, many government organizations in Quebec are stuck in stone-age procurement systems that leave them out of cash, paying what I call licensing taxes. I wanted to explain a bit how the software business works in Quebec, but quite frankly, I just had some food and it is so disgusting I’ll save it for another rant.
For more information about the Declaratory Judgement Motion legalese, see article #453 of Quebec’s Code of Civil Procedure. Such code is « …intended to render effective the substantive law and to ensure that it is carried out; and failing a provision to the contrary, failure to observe the rules which are not of public order can only affect a proceeding if the defect has not been remedied when it was possible to do so. The provisions of this Code must be interpreted the one by the other, and, so far as possible, in such a way as to facilitate rather than to delay or to end prematurely the normal advancement of cases. » In other words, we have a Code so the actual Code is respected. Pfew!
Update: An English press release is now available.