Corporate perk or monopolist bribery?

[ FSFE ] “Staff in the European Parliament are facing a challenge to their ethics. A company is offering all of them a gift which could compromise their independence. The company in question is Microsoft, and the gift is a bunch of proprietary programs. Through the Parliament’s administration, Microsoft is offering staff (though probably not MEPs) gratis licenses to Microsoft Office, Project, and Visio. This happens under the so- called “Home Use Program”. The staff is working on regulations that also effect Microsoft, who is now making a gift to them. Staff is usually the one who does all the legwork. They are the one who control access to our MEPs. FSFE asks the MEPs to tell their staff, and the staff in their groups, not to accept Microsoft’s gift. On the contrary, they should push the administration into making Free Software tools available that staffers can use to do their work, and urge the Parliament itself to migrate to Free Software. Karsten Gerloff wrote about this in his blog[2]and will closeley monitor how the MEPs and their staff in the European Parliament will react. We will keep you posted.”