[Osia-members] NSW Government Procurement actively discourages use of Open Source

Cameron Shorter cameron.shorter at gmail.com
Thu Aug 24 20:18:33 AEST 2017


Thanks Jack,

I've called helpdesk with NSW Procurement and followed up with an email 
to nswbuy at finance.nsw.gov.au yesterday (Th 23 Aug 2017). I'll keep you 
informed if I get a reply.

Cheers, Cameron


On 24/8/17 6:20 pm, Jack Burton wrote:
> On Wed, 2017-08-23 at 13:27 +1000, Cameron Shorter wrote:
>> In 2014 we discovered that NSW Procurement guidelines for large projects
>> state [1]:
>> /23.1 The Contractor must ensure that://
>> //(a) none of the Deliverables comprise Open Source Software; and//
>> //(b) it does not insert any Open Source Software into the Customer
>> Environment,//
>> //except to the extent otherwise approved by the Customer in writing. /
>>
>> I've been alerted to the fact that this clause still exists in the new
>> draft, which is apparently due to be made public in September.
> I've just checked, and it seems that ProcureIT v3.2 has been make public
> *already* (although it will only start applying to new contracts from 1
> Sep 2017 onwards).
>
> See:
> https://www.procurepoint.nsw.gov.au/before-you-buy/standard-procurement-contract-templates/procure-it-framework-version-32
>
> OSIA raised several issues with both ProcureIT v3.0 (which is still
> current for another week or so -- this was the version you originally
> brought to our attention in 2014) and with some very early drafts
> (which were not made public) of v3.2.
>
> [note: there was never (at least while I was involved) any v3.1 of
> Modules 13 & 13A. However, there *was* a v3.1 of the Customer Contract
> and of all other modules. Agencies were continuing to use Modules 13 &
> 13A from v3.0 pending the release of v3.2]
>
> The major issues were:
>
> 1. Flawed definition of OSS
> ===========================
>
> Clause 1.3 of Module 13A in v3.0 contains a rather inaccurate definition
> of OSS, which read like an attempted definition of they copyleft class
> of OSS licences (rather than OSS licences in general), but did not even
> get that quite right.
>
> In v3.2 all definitions moved into the Dictionary (Part II).
>
> I recommended against DFSI attempting to define OSS for themselves,
> suggesting that they should instead adopt the OSD, as published &
> maintained by OSI.
>
> I made that recommendation formally on two occasions (first in relation
> to v3.0 at a meeting that Ryan Cross & I attended with the then
> principal solicitor at DFSI in January 2015, then again in relation to
> v3.2 in OSIA's formal comments to DFSI on a v3.2 draft) and informally
> on many other occasions.
>
> It is pleasing to see that DFSI have adopted that recommendation: v3.2
> defines OSS by reference to the OSD (and adds a note explicitly
> including CC licences too -- no doubt to cover things like
> documentation & data).
>
> See here:
> https://www.procurepoint.nsw.gov.au/system/files/documents/procure_it_v.3.2_dictionary.pdf
>
> The v3.2 definition of OSS reads:
>
> "1.82 Open Source Software means software available under a licence
> which meets the criteria of  the Open Source Definition published by the
> Open Source Initiative at http://www.opensource.org, and includes the
> forms of creative commons licences published as the Creative Commons
> Legal Code for Australia at http://www.creativecommons.org."
>
> That is a big improvement to ProcureIT's precision & accuracy, although
> it does not affect the core policy issues (see below).
>
> 2. Prohibition of OSS by default
> ================================
>
> This is the issue that Cameron originally raised with clause 23.1 of
> the v3.0 Module 13A.
>
> Again, I objected to it formally on at least two occasions (the same
> two listed above) and informally on many more, on each occasion
> recommending that the provision in question be removed from ProcureIT
> altogether.
>
> Sadly, it seems that our recommendations were not followed: clause 23.1
> of Module13A in v3.2 retains the exact same wording as in v3.0:
> https://www.procurepoint.nsw.gov.au/system/files/documents/module_13a_major_project_systems_integration_services_v3.2.pdf
>
> 3. Discrimination against OSS
> =============================
>
> Clause 23.2 of the v3.0 Module 13A requires Suppliers seeking to offer
> solutions involving OSS to provide additional warranties and
> indemnities over and above what is required of Suppliers offering only
> closed-source solutions.
>
> This is not only discriminatory, but also ill-advised: in practise,
> issues around disclosure to third parties (particularly of a Customer’s
> Confidential Information) are far more likely to arise under the terms
> of closed source software licenses than under OSS licenses.
>
> Again, I objected to this formally on at least two occasions (the same
> two listed above) and informally on many more, on each occasion
> recommending that the provision in question be removed from ProcureIT
> altogether.
>
> Again, sadly, it seems that our recommendations were not followed:
> clause 23.2 of Module13A remains in v3.2 just as in v3.0.
>
> 4. Impact of moving provisions from Module 13A to Customer Contract
> ===================================================================
>
> In the early v3.2 drafts that DFSI provided OSIA to review in 2016,
> clauses 23.1 & 23.2 from the v3.0 Module 13A had been moved out of
> Module 13A and inserted into the Customer Contract (as clauses 13.14 &
> 13.15) instead.
>
> Last year I argued strongly that this change made things substantially
> *worse* by extending the discrimination & the default prohibition
> described above to *all* NSW Government contracts (whereas when those
> clauses were in Module 13A alone, they only applied to major project
> systems integration services).
>
> Looking at the "beta site" for v3.2, we can see that DFSI have left
> those provision in the v3.2 Customer Contract *as well as* re-inserting
> them into the v3.2 Module 13A. See here:
> http://ec2-54-66-245-30.ap-southeast-2.compute.amazonaws.com/?q=node/173
>
> (yes, I know that's not a gov.au URL. But I got there by following a
> link from DFSI's website)
>
> In the early drafts, the flawed definition of OSS was also present in
> the Customer Contract -- which we objected to as well -- but that draft
> provision has been removed from the v3.2 Customer Contract.
>
> 5. Proposed removal of OSS exceptions to warranties & indemnities
> =================================================================
>
> The v3.1 Customer Contract provided some explicit exceptions to
> requirements for warranties & indemnities in relation to OSS. From our
> perspective, these were *good* provisions. The exceptions applied
> everywhere except on major projects (where they were overridden by
> Module 13A).
>
> In the early v3.2 drafts, those exceptions had been removed from
> clauses 9.1(f) & 19.5(a) of the Customer Contract, and the qualifying
> phrase "to the best of its knowledge and belief" had also been removed
> from clause 9.1(f).
>
> Naturally, we objected strongly last year to their proposed removal.
>
> It is pleasing to see that DFSI have re-instated the exception for OSS
> in clause 19.5(a) and that they have re-instated the qualifying phrase
> "to the best of its knowledge and belief" in clause 9.1(f).
>
> It is disappointing however to see that DFSI have not re-instated the
> exception for OSS in clause 9.1(f).
>
> 6.  Proposed removal of OSS savings provision
> =============================================
>
> Clause 13.13 of the v3.1 Customer Contract provides a fairly standard
> savings provision that affirms the survival of the terms of any existing
> OSS license.
>
> As I noted at the time, that appeared to have been added to the v3.1
> Customer Contract in order to ensure that agencies can reap the
> economic benefits of OSS by accessing broader competition in the
> marketplace, which makes good sense.
>
> In last year's early v3.2 drafts, that provision had been removed.
>
> Naturally, we objected strongly last year to its proposed removal and
> recommended its re-instatement.
>
> It is disappointing to see that DFSI have not re-instated the savings
> provision for existing OSS licences.
>
>
> Please understand that the early v3.2 drafts I reviewed were not all
> bad. There were also some *good* changes that DFSI were proposing, which
> I'll describe now:
>
> 7. Privacy of Customer Data
> ===========================
>
> In the early v3.2 drafts, DFSI was proposing must stricter privacy
> requirements than in v3.1. These were most evident in Clause 15 of the
> Customer Contract.
>
> Whilst clearly there are some exceptions on both sides, privacy is an
> area in which FOSS companies generally tend have a significant advantage
> (from the customer's perspective) over their closed-source competitors.
>
> So naturally, we *supported* those proposed changes.
>
> It is pleasing to see that DFSI have retained the privacy enhancing
> changes in Clause 15.1.
>
> However it is disappointing to see that DFSI has abandoned the proposed
> Clause 15.2 (which would have further strengthened the privacy
> provisions of the contract).
>
> 8. Perpetual & irrevocable licenses
> ===================================
>
> In the early v3.2 drafts, DFSI was proposing to require that licences
> granted be perpetual & irrevocable. This was to be done in Clause 13.9
> of the Customer Contract.
>
> Again, from the customer's perspective this is an area were FOSS
> suppliers tend to excel in comparison to their closed-source
> competitors.
>
> It is pleasing to see that DFSI have retained the new Clause 13.9 in the
> v3.2 Customer Contract.
>
> However, it is disappointing to see that v3.2 has introduced a massive
> loophole with the qualifying phrase "Unless expressly agreed otherwise
> in the General Order Form".
>
> In other words, whilst the strong requirement is there by default, it
> can be overridden all too easily.
>
>
> Note that there were also a wide range of relatively minor matters
> relating to ProcureIT which we raised with DFSI informally in 2015 &
> 2016. However, the 8 points above (6 substantial problems and 2
> significant improvements) were the only ones that were seen as major
> and therefore the only ones that we raised formally.
>
>> Jack,  I know you co-authored a submission to get this changed, and
>> presented the submission. Where did that eventually get to?
> I did indeed lodge a document with NSW DFSI on behalf of OSIA (on 19
> Oct 2015) entitled "Preliminary comments on NSW ProcureIT v3.2 draft
> (Module 13 and contract)".
>
> Over a period of almost two years we had ongoing interactions with
> various DFSI personnel regarding this matter. I took two formal
> meetings with DFSI in Sydney (Ryan Cross was also present at the first
> one), a number of calls & teleconferences and exchanged many emails, in
> addition to providing our written comments on the v3.2 drafts.
>
> In addition, with board approval, on several occasions I also discussed
> the matter at length with the appropriate people at AIIA, who were also
> engaging with DFSI on the ProcureIT review (AIIA agreed with us on
> points #1 through #6 above -- especially #5 & #6 -- but disagreed with
> us on points #7 & #8, and also raised a variety of other issues of
> their own, which we saw as fairly minor in comparison to the 8 points
> listed above).
>
> Naturally I have not been involved in this matter since I resigned from
> the OSIA board on 25 Nov 2016.
>
> However, details of my contacts at DFSI were provided to the 2016/17
> board in my post to osia-board@ of 3:41pm (Adelaide time) on 28 Nov
> 2016, which was one of a long series of reports I provided to the board
> between 26 Nov & 28 Nov by way of a comprehensive handover of all
> active OSIA matters for which I had previously been the principal
> contact at OSIA.
>
> The board were already (prior to that) well aware of the status of the
> matter, by means of my umpteen written reports posted to osia-board@ &
> other reports (both written & oral) given at various board meetings
> over the course of the two years for which the matter had been active.
>
> As for what, if anything, OSIA said or did on this matter after 28 Nov
> 2016, I have no idea.
>
> You'd need to ask one of the current directors.
>
> Indeed, I'd be interested to hear about that too.
>
>> I'm thinking we might need to resubmit your submission.
> It is probably too late for that now.
>
> ProcureIT v3.2 has been announced, with a start date of 1 Sep 2017 (8
> days from today).
>
> Nevertheless, like you I am very disappointed to see that v3.2 looks set
> no only to perpetuate the anti-OSS discrimination that was introduced in
> Module 13A of v3.0, but extend it to cover contracts other than those
> for major projects systems integration.
>
> Still, there does appear to be one faint glimmer of hope. The website
> on which DFSI has published the v3.2 Customer Contract is described as
> "beta".
>
> It is not altogether clear whether that refers to the v3.2 Customer
> Contract itself, or merely to the form of the website on which it is
> published.
>
> One can only hope that it means the former.
>
> If so, it would be good to see some last ditch attempts made to prevent
> this travesty.
>
> I have no standing to make that approach -- as I no longer represent
> OSIA and neither of my companies sells to the NSW Government.
>
> However, the current board could well make such an approach if they see
> fit to.
>
> Likewise, there is nothing stopping you -- and/or any other OSIA member
> who sells into NSW Government -- making such an approach in parallel
> yourself, or indeed via any other industry body you may also belong to
> (e.g. I seem to recall one of your earlier approaches being under the
> auspices of a group representing the OSS GIS sector).
>
> If you want to discuss the specifics in more detail than might be
> appropriate on the osia-members@ list, feel free to give me a call any
> time.
>

-- 
Cameron Shorter
M +61 419 142 254



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