In the end of December all Estonian political parties represented in the Estonian parliament were sent requests to answer a few questions about Free Software, proprietary software advertising on the websites of public institutions, open standards, software patents, and copyright. Estonian Reform Party (Eesti Reformierakond) was the first to respond. They replied that the party does not have official positions on those questions, but they were kind enough to have their member Lauri Luik offer his personal opinions. Our translation of our questions and his answers can be found below. We thank Estonian Reform Party and Mr. Lauri Luik for their kind reply.
1. Free Software
1.1) Does Your party think that the state should support the development of Free Software as one of the characteristics of a civil society?
The Free Software ideology is acceptable to me and history shows that it works. Advocacy is reasonable. However, excessive interference with the workings of a free market is not. This can probably be achieved without the state allocating considerable finances. Nevertheless, it is important to trust the consumer, who has to make the final choice.
1.2) Does Your party think that Free Software should be preferred to proprietary software in the public sector?
The quality of service (software) matters. If Free Software guarantees the best quality, then obviously. If not, then no.
2. Proprietary software advertising on the websites of public institutions
2.1) What does Your party think of proprietary software advertising on the websites of public institutions?
2.2) Would Your party be willing to sign the “Petition For The Removal Of Proprietary Software Advertising On Public Websites“?
2.3) Would Your party be willing to propose a bill to ban proprietary software advertising on the websites of public institutions
Depends on the kind of advertising you have in mind. If a university were advertising its cooperation partners, I would not see it as a problem. However, it is certainly not for governmental institutions to broker advertising and profit from such activities.
3.1) Does Your party agree with the definition of an Open Standard and considers Open Standards necessary?
Life has demonstrated that Open Standards will ultimately make life easier for the customer and that is important.
3.2) What does Your party intend to do to avoid vendor lock-in?
Raising awareness is exceptionally important. It could as well be asked what should be done to avoid people falling prey to SMS-loan and telemarketing companies. Raising awareness as usual. And should problems arise, we have the Consumer Protection Board to deal with them. However, contributing to prevention through raising awareness should come first and foremost.
4. Software patents
4.1) Does Your party think that software should be patentable?
4.1.1) If yes, why?
4.1.2) If yes, should mathematics also be patentable?
Patents are granted based on concrete rules. If it is thought that these rules need to be changed or adapted, then we are open to proposals from experts in the subject field.
5.1) In the opinion of Your party, is the current Estonian copyright legislation too harsh, too mild, or adequate?
5.2) In the opinion of Your party, should the term limits of copyright protection be reduced? Why?
Copyright and essential liberties must find an adequate compromise in the Internet and it is being worked on.
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