Vote for open source

The Free Software Pact said it has signed up 96 French and Italian candidates to its manifesto, commiting government to supporting open source and opposing such things as software patents and an end to network neutrality.

If you're voting in the European Parliament elections next month and you believe in open source you have a unique opportunity.

You can vote for it.

(Pictured, from the Free Software Pact Web site, is French candidate Patrick Bloche.)

The Free Software Pact said it has signed up 96 French and Italian candidates to its manifesto, commiting government to supporting open source and opposing such things as software patents and an end to network neutrality.

The group succeeded two years ago in getting all 12 candidates for the French presidency to support its manifesto, and two U.K. Greens say they have already signed on. Germany and Spain also have active FSP groups.

Mark Taylor is coordinating the work in the U.K.. A Web page has been established where candidates can commit to it.

It should be noted that political movements like this are practical where proportional representation is used. In a winner take all system like that of the U.S. (or the U.K. for that matter) it is much more difficult for third party candidates, and ideas, to break through.

So here's the FSP document, in English. Read it carefully and send us a talkback saying whether, if you were a candidate for the European parliament, you would sign it.

Here's the key bit:

I therefore undertake to

Encourage all administrations, all public or local services to prefer Free Software and open standards in their choices, purchases and own developments;

Support active policies in favour of Free Software, and oppose any discrimination against it ;

Stand up for Free Software authors' and users' rights, especially by requiring the modification of any legal text currently weakening those rights, and opposing any legal project that would lead to such consequences.

As a resident of the U.S. South I do have one question. Does it come with barbecue sauce? (I'm sure that if you called it open sauce every politician in Georgia would sign.)