Campinas, April 26, 2007---Free Software Foundation Latin America (FSFLA) finished yesterday the process of liberation of Receita Federal's program IRPF2007. This work enabled the submission of the first income tax declaration in Brazil to be prepared exclusively with Free Software.
A number of months went by negotating with Receita Federal, almost without progress. The only concrete step was the publication of specifications of file formats for the declaration, unfortunately incomplete.
There wasn't any progress in the regularization of the IRPF2007 program, whose Java version for GNU/Linux infringes on copyrights of 11 Free Software packages, and whose use appeared to violate the Software Law, that states that a computer program can only be used with a license contract.
Receita Federal alleged that no further license was necessary, since it was already implied. As it turns out, inside the application package, we found a happy surprise. The license GNU LGPLv2, a Free Software license! This was the implied license!
FSFLA believes that all the software must be Free, respecting the freedoms to run, study, adapt and distribute the software. Therefore, as soon as we learned about the license, we started the process of "liberating the Lion" [T.N.: income tax is known as "the Lion" in Brazil], using programs that, starting from the executable, generate source code that is functionally equivalent.
It's not the corresponding source code that LGPL requires, since it's missing comments and documentation, but it's something we can already work with. In fact, since Receita Federal forgot to publish the source code of a few LGPLed libraries that it uses in its programs, it seems reasonable to assume that it forgot to publish its own source code.
What we did was little more than rendering explicit the freedoms that we were given, and, because of this, it is possible to create Income Tax declarations in electronic formats using only Free Software.
IRPF2007-Livre still carries some deficiencies, such as the lack of a graphical user interface. We hope that next year Receita Federal will release a Free version of the program, that works on 100% Free platforms.
For those who don't use proprietary software, there's still time to comply with their fiscal obligations without compromising their freedoms. The instructions manual, the source code and the license are available in the address below.
It's a Free version of the IRPF2007 program distributed by Receita Federal, prepared by FSFLA as part of its Campaign against "Softwares Impostos".
It offers a text-mode interface functionally sufficient to prepare IRPF declarations for submission to Receita Federal.
It can be obtained, both in executable and source code forms, in the
About FSFLA's Campaign against Softwares Impostos
We understand the Brazilian law, particularly the Federal Constitution, grant preference to Free Software in the public administration, both internally, for compliance with constitutional principles, and in interactions with citizens, for respect for their fundamental constitutional rights and for compliance with the same and other constitutional principles.
This campaign, started in October, 2006, seeks to educate public
administration managers about these obligations that are beneficial
both to citizens and to the public administration itself, such that
they pay attention not only to compliance with the law, but also to
respect for citizens and for digital freedom.
http://www.fsfla.org/?q=pt/node/152 (in Portuguese)
FSFLA joined in 2005 the FSF network, previously formed by Free Software Foundations in the United States, in Europe and in India. These sister organizations work in their corresponding geographies towards promoting the same Free Software ideals and defending the same freedoms for software users and developers, working locally but cooperating globally. For more information about FSFLA and to contribute to our work, visit our web site at http://www.fsfla.org or write to email@example.com.
Board member, FSFLA
+55 19 9714-3658 / 3243-5233
Pedro A.D. Rezende
Board member, FSFLA
+55 61 3368-6031 / 3307-2482
Copyright 2007 FSFLA
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