French Government Urged to Adopt Open Source

by Sam Dean – Sep. 26, 2012

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has issued a missive to French ministers, including a complete action plan urging government usage of LibreOffice and PostgreSQL. But the action plan calls for more. As noted on Slashdot: “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.”  This is just the latest example of strong pushes in the direction of open source going on in Europe.

According to Computerworld U.K.:

“[..Ayrault’s] action plan was outlined in a report prepared by the Interministerial Directorate for Communication and IT Systems, which the prime minister asked his ministers to put into effect….On the desktop, the report highlights areas for study, including whether to use the Trustedbird mail client or Thunderbird, and whether to choose Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome. It also suggests creating a system for converting existing documents into free formats, and participating in the development of a grammar checker to integrate with other software.”

The most interesting aspect of Ayrault’s recommendation is that he envisions government developers and funds helping top open source projects along. If executed and copied in Europe, that could become a rising tide that lifts a lot of open source boats.

Aryault’s call is hardly the only push for open source software usage coming out of Europe. As we covered here, a prominent information technology academic in Britain, Jim Norton, has commissioned a new study on open source, and based on the results, he is urging CIOs everywhere to choose open source over proprietary alternatives. Norton has delivered a blog post summarizing some of his findings:

“The case for embracing open source software is compelling, both from a business and a technology perspective. Even in demanding high-volume transaction processing environments, open systems have proven not just fit for purpose, but critical to helping industries as diverse as financial services, banking and transport to adapt and transform how they operate.”

“Likewise, there are advantages to the IT provider that also have a trickle down benefit for customers. These include lower total cost of ownership, the ability to attract highly skilled and talented staff, quicker access to new technology developments and access to a global community for quick problem resolution.”

You can find out much more about the French government’s push toward open source adoption here.

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About fblauer

Fred Blauer is a senior consultant with more than 20 years of experience providing information systems consulting, ERP implementation, syste
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