Ayrault Circular: progress for the use of Free Software in the French administration, pending the legislative part

Paris, September 24th, 2012. Press release.

April is pleased with the French prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault's publication of the circular dated September 19th, 2012 which presents "Orientations and Recommendations relative to the Use of Free Software in French Administration"1.

As the result of an interdepartmental work carried out by the DISIC ("Direction interministérielle des systèmes d'information et de communication", Interdepartmental Direction Directorate of information systems and communication), the circular describes Free Software as a "rational choice" that needs to be spread into all State Departments. It shows that, through the freedom it grants to its users and the way it works, it offers extremely attractive solutions to the administration, on both cost management issues and technological independence of the various administrations. Moreover, this circular validates and strengthens the work carried out for several years by public servants in the mutualisation groups.

The circular outlines a IT management system where public actors will not be confined to a mere buyer role but, through the positive effects of mutualisation induced by free software, will have a contributing role as well."We are very pleased about the will expressed in this circular to work together with free software communities and its companies, and to make sure that computer knowledge is better shared within the various ministries" says Lionel Allorge, president of April.

"After the Fillon circular about the generalisation of the use of open formats2, the prime minister's decision is good news for the French administration. We hope that the Ayrault government will also be able to share with the French citizens its willingness regarding free software in order to stop the inequalities they are facing, for example regarding DRM or bundled sales" he adds.

April hopes that this circular is a first step towards a more proactive policy that would make the use and development of free software in government a priority, following the example from, for instance, the recent public procurement code improvement in Italy3.

This circular, targeting state IT services, must be accompanied by a more ambitious approach to ensure a real development of Free Software in France. April therefore incites the government to implement an actual public policy in favor of free software be it in the matter of education, to foster innovation by banning software patents, or to respect consumer's rights by prohibiting digital handcuffs, bundle sales or treacherous computing.

About April

Pioneer of free software in France, April is since 1996 a major player in the democratisation and the spread of Free Software and open standards to the general public, professionals and institutions in the French-speaking world. In the digital era that is ours, it also aims to inform the public on the dangers of an exclusive appropriation ofinformation an knowledge by private interests.

The association has over 5,000 members, using or producing Free Software.

For more information, you may go to the following website: http://www.april.org/, contact us by phone at +33 178 769 280 or through our contact form.

Press contacts:

Frédéric Couchet, Executive Director, fcouchet@april.org +33 660 688 931
Jeanne Tadeusz, Public Affairs Officer, jtadeusz@april.org +33 1 78 76 92 82