30 March 2011

Kafka Alive and Well, Living in Switzerland

You may have come across this sad tale:


According to the Swiss Open Systems User Group, /ch/openSwitzerland, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court Switzerland has rejected a complaint by several open source vendors against the awarding of contracts to Microsoft without prior invitation to tender. Last summer, the Swiss Federal Administrative Court had ruled in a first instance decision that only the vendors of Microsoft software could object against the awarded contracts because only they offer the Microsoft products chosen by the Swiss Federal Government.

See the Catch-22 logic here? Only vendors of Microsoft software could object to the fact that only vendors of Microsoft could be awarded the contract...

The complainants had appealed against this decision on the grounds that the ruling didn't take into consideration the existence of products which compete with those offered by Microsoft.

And the court's reason for rejecting the appeal?

the court ruled that the complainants didn't provide conclusive evidence of the actual existence of such competing products. An objection by the complainants that such evidence is impossible to produce because no functional specifications have been established by the Swiss Federal Administration was overruled.

Got that? The complainants couldn't complain because they didn't prove they were able to supply the products desired. But the reason they couldn't do this was because no list of functional requirements had been specified - which was precisely the problem they were complaining about: that the contract was framed in such a way as to exclude open source alternatives.

It's a bit like being found guilty for wanting to know what crime you were accused of....

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5 comments:

NomDuClavier said...

I'm almost tempted to go back to school and start a firm called 'Kafka, Möbius & Ouroboros - Contortionists at Law', to counterbalance madness like this.

If only it were proper Madness, at least you'd get to dance to it.

glyn moody said...

@NomDuClavier: nice...

Sassinak said...

In other words : it's none of your business!

glyn moody said...

@Sassinak: indeed, and put in a fairly insulting way...

NomDuClavier said...

@Sassinak: Which is one of the things they'd been complaining about too, there being no way to get into the business.