France: Free Software Adoption

It seems every week we read of yet another government somewhere setting course for FLOSS. This week it’s France:

Ayrault wants different branches of the French administration to use the same free software as one another when possible, so as to share experience and cut support costs. Until now, each ministry or agency has been left to pursue its own strategy.

He also wants them to reinvest between 5 percent and 10 percent of the money they save through not paying for proprietary software licenses, spending it instead on contributing to the development of the free software. The administration already submits patches and bug fixes for the applications it uses, but Ayrault wants to go beyond that, contributing to or paying for the addition of new functionality to the software.

see French Government Outlines Plans for Free Software Adoption CIO.com.

It’s all in this report(French), including putting in motion the search for a distro.

Here is a snippet via Google Translate:

After several years in which the question of free software was the subject of numerous discussions, it is now possible to hold a series of guidelines and recommendations on the proper use of free software. This is the purpose of the document attached, prepared, with the directors of information systems of your ministries, of work conducted by the interdepartmental management information systems and communication. I ask you to implement within your services, guidance defined in the attached document.”

This is similar to Putin’s order to the Russian government…

Another snippet:
“Today the choice of free software in government is not an ideological commitment, but result of a reasoned choice. “

Amen.

I used Tesseract to OCR the document. The raw text is here.

They appear to give the green light to well established software:
“3.3.1.1. existing free software and free software recognized internationally

Some are maintained by a community already very strong with many users ( Jboss, Firefox …). In some cases the free software becomes essential eg for Apache web server that is used by nearly 60% of the installed base (end of 2011). In this case, the cost reduction is directly and the product is often used immediately and sufficiently supported through the community. It is still possible to establish a connection with the development community to raise the appropriate reports malfunction and contribute to the improvement of the software. The Examples of this are ubiquitous and context lead to the deployment of increasingly important in the public sector and private large strains free: Linux, Apache, Firefox, Thunderbird, Jboss, OpenSSL, Eclipse … In the case of software end users, however, it should ensure change management to prepare for the introduction of new software, especially if it replaces a widely used solution. This must be integrated into the economic calculation. “

It looks like they know what they want and have all their ducks in a row except the choice of desktop OS. If they run all this FLOSS on the desktop, they might as well use GNU/Linux. I recommend Debian GNU/Linux because it has been around a while, has a great package manager and is a true cooperative project of the world. I am sure Debian would work well for France.

I have long held the view that governments and other large organizations should hire some developers and give back to FLOSS rather than paying licences for no long-term benefit. An investment in FLOSS is an investment in the future. That seems to be the plan for France. Good for them.

see also Joinup – French guideline favours the use of free and open source

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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7 Responses to France: Free Software Adoption

  1. oldman wrote, “Unfortunately for you the what those posters have said truth is preserved for any to see in your archive of past blog posts and responses.”

    It would be a single command in MySQL to change that if I thought it was true what your wrote. I don’t. While many of those whom I have banned are quite knowledgeable they mostly twist the truth in horrible ways to support unsupportable arguments. They exploit a whole panoply of tactics, some of which I don’t countenance. I have no problem with anyone disagreeing with me. Some things are a matter of opinion. The really annoying trolls refuse to accept into evidence obvious facts however in their misguided attempts to show that GNU/Linux cannot, must not, will never amount to much when GNU/Linux has been everywhere and done everything an OS could be expected to do.

    An example: Some commentators question the possibility that Ude knows how much the City of Munich spends on IT before, after and during the migration. That’s nonsense. Germany is a democracy and tax-payers wishing other parties to rule would be on his case in an instant in the proper forums to make such determinations. Instead the trolls prattle on about their suppositions with no evidence. I have done many migrations and never had any of the problems of Munich, most of which were caused by the trolls and M$. e.g. the patent scare and the huge wave of negative publicity from M$’s “partners” in technological evangelisation. Munich has been utterly open about everything. Their studies are public. Their new system is working very well. These twits have no basis to criticise it at all.

    M$ has major and minor “partners” they list the ones who take money from them for consultancy, distributing the product etc. but they keep secret a huge swath of “technological evangelists” recruited to beat the drums for M$. The trolls here fit the patterns very well. Some even claim to work for M$. Really, if I were a nutcase and always wrong why would I need to be attacked? Every visitor would instantly see through my sham. The fact that I am credible and know how to solve problems in the real world requires I be beaten up by bullies just like the outsider in the school yard. I worked in education for many years and no one found any fault with my solutions in the workplace. Twits on the web think they know better somehow despite that millions of others have had similar good experiences with GNU/Linux as I have.

  2. oldman says:

    “I love the web and Google. It makes it so easy to refute FUD/hype/technological evangelism from M$’s “partners”.”

    Partners Pog? you flatter yourself. AS you know full well that we are all just computer users who are annoyed enough by your bushwah that we take talk back to you correcting what we can.

    As far as refutationis concerned, you have had you head handed to you metaphorically more than once by various posters. You answer of course has been to band them and then go on as if nothing was said.

    Unfortunately for you the what those posters have said truth is preserved for any to see in your archive of past blog posts and responses.

  3. Chris Weig wrote, “the French police struggles with Ubuntu …”

    What the French police reported, actually knowing about the subject, was “Moving from Microsoft XP to Vista would not have brought us many advantages and Microsoft said it would require training of users. Moving from XP to Ubuntu, however, proved very easy.”

    see French police: we saved millions of euros by adopting Ubuntu

    I love the web and Google. It makes it so easy to refute FUD/hype/technological evangelism from M$’s “partners”.

  4. JR says:

    @ Chris Weig

    Your comment refers ……..”Number of crimes actually increased in France, because the French police struggles with Ubuntu so much.”

    Pity Clarence Moon is not here anymore you and he could have a competition to see who could make the most moronic comment.

  5. Chris Weig says:

    If I remember well, the French police uses Ubuntu, and there are French distros as well. I expect that some of them will get more acceptance.

    Number of crimes actually increased in France, because the French police struggles with Ubuntu so much.

  6. DavidS wrote, “not before MS successfully locks his OS. The day the inhabitants of China, Russia, Slovakia, Turkey or India will be forced to pay for their OS or office, there will be much more Linux.”

    That day is now. All over the world, the USA is pressuring governments to enforce copyright law. It is not too difficult for a government to prevent large businesses/distributors/retail chains from propagating illegal copies. The small operators/individuals/relatives are more difficult to reach but they usually just refurbish PCs. Governments can touch the sources of supply. In the past year ELCOT in India tried to buy a bunch of PCs using that other OS and were forced to use GNU/Linux instead and Lenovo supplied them. It’s working. The dam has broken. The only question remaining is how many PCs will be supplied with GNU/Linux in coming years. I would expect that emerging markets that are very price-sensitive will get over half the PCs with GNU/Linux. Those markets will absorb many more PCs than existing markets. Whether GNU/Linux will thrive in every region is another question. There seems to be no end to people reluctant to change even though they are enslaved. There seems to be no end to people willing to waste their money even though unemployment is high and governments are in deficit. I hope reason prevails.

  7. DavidS says:

    Dear Mr Pogson,

    I read most of the document and it seems that it conforms to a West European trend of using more and more FOSS in their companies and state administration.

    If I remember well, the French police uses Ubuntu, and there are French distros as well. I expect that some of them will get more acceptance.

    But anyway, I travelled all over Europe and if a surge of Linux use is going to happen, it will be probably in the NW of the EU, somewhere where the use of pirated software is less widespread. You often mention Russia, but the usual scenario is probably what happened in Serbia: a few years ago, the government started his own Linux distro (cp6linux), based on Ubuntu, translated a bunch of applications, installed that distro on hundred of laptops and then came the elections. A new government was elected, long term contracts were immediately signed with MS (the most risible was “office for science”) and the story was over.

    MS’ policy of not pressing to hard on pirated copies has paid off. First, a culture, a milieu and habits were created. In school, pupils learn to use ms office (I’ve seen the manuals). To make things more complicated, software is usually used in English, although lots of applications are available in Serbian (Serbia is in a specific position, and the linguocide of Serbian is a known project; then, the use of localised software makes the income of IT professionals decrease).

    I believe that Linux will become mainstream: with distros like openSUSE, Ubuntu, Fedora, backed by big companies, it has a good chance. But not before MS successfully locks his OS. The day the inhabitants of China, Russia, Slovakia, Turkey or India will be forced to pay for their OS or office, there will be much more Linux.

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