Public policy and open source

What role should government have in moving open source forward?

French Taunter figure from Pythonline
Two stories crossed my desk today, both involving our French-speaking friends, and both involving the intersection of public policy and open source.

(The French Taunter to the right, from PythonOnline, is very hard to find, we understand.)

First there is this hymm to the French, who have used public policy to make that nation an open source paradise, according to Tom Kaneshige of Infoworld. Surprising, because few major projects are there, and few major contributions come from there.

OK. The French economy and French government benefit from open source. But where is the quid for this pro quo? Please, nasty comments from Paris, Marseilles and Lyon are required.

Then we have a suit by open source advocates against the government of Quebec, complaining that Microsoft has become a sole supplier and we're not getting a fair shake. Big Money Matt no likey.

I do. When your government is wasting money, when it seems the bids are rigged, a lawsuit draws attention to the grievance. Perhaps it will draw the attention of the ADQ and there can be a political debate on it.

As to France itself, I repeat. What have they accomplished? Where are the great French contributions to open source, or is this a nation of les free riders?

Just remember there is a serious issue here. What role should government have in moving open source forward? And what should we do, as citizens, to force the issue?

UPDATE: What Matt said. This has been another episode of what Matt said.