: Success for the French Presidential Election Initiative

Paris, April 19, 2007. Press release.

APRIL, leading French Free Software association since 1996 that initiated [1], thanks the presidential candidates who responded to the questionnaire [2]. It is heartening to see that the subjects being addressed have been treated in depth by nearly all of the candidates, and we are pleased to have contributed to and fueled the debate surrounding Free Software and digital freedoms. APRIL especially regrets the absence of a response from Nicolas Sarkozy, contrary to what he has promised publicly; he is the sole presidential candidate who has not committed to the defense of free software.

Launched by APRIL on the second of this past February, the initiative has the notable objective of permitting some French presidential candidates to present their views on subjects of direct import to citizens concerned with the future of Free Software (patentability, copyright, DRMs, interoperability) and, more broadly, the publics freedoms in the digital age.

Seven of the twelve presidential candidates have responded to the questionnaire: François Bayrou, Olivier Besancenot, José Bové, Marie-George Buffet, Jean-Marie Le Pen, Ségolène Royal and Dominique Voynet. Arlette Laguiller promptly made it known to us that she did not have the resources to respond. Frédéric Nihous, Philippe de Villiers, Nicolas Sarkozy, and Gérard Schivardi have neither replied nor provided a reason for their silence.

APRIL thanks all of the candidates who responded and thereby allowed citizens to better understand their positions on Free Software and digital freedoms.

The quality of the responses illustrates, to APRIL, the capacity of the candidates to surround themselves with experts, to conduct hearings, and to confront opinions on sensitive topics, some of which are still very controversial, which is positive in and of itself, considering the fact that, whatever happens, thinking will be advanced within each party.

The capacity of the candidates to separate themselves from the apparent technicality of the issues and to link the stakes in this field to other subjects confronting society is also very positive: this proves that the stakes have been integrated into the candidates social ideals, and that politics have taken control of technology, be it in information technology or related legal matters.

This is a welcome development, as the digital era is our common future from both social and economic perspectives, and will determine our future capacity to exercise these fundamental liberties [3].

This is why we are concerned by the absence of Nicolas Sarkozy's response to the questionnaire, especially considering the fact that the candidate did not abide by his word even before the election.

Bernard Carayon (French right wing MP) did, in fact, during the Solutions Linux 2007 political roundtable, affirm that the UMP candidate would respond to the questionnaire [4]. APRIL considers this lack of a response to be logical, considering the deplorable stance taken by the UMP as regards the rights of authors and users of free software and, more broadly, those of citizens, consumers, and the enterprises involved with developing the digital environment. APRIL is not even surprised that Eric Walter, responsible for internet issues for UMP, considers the DADVSI law (the « French DMCA ») to be harmless to consumers [5].

« We hope that APRIL's initiative fed the civil debate beyond partisanship. The candidates proposals, which were made available in stages, were read by the greatest number of people, debated, and critiqued. Without a doubt, some of these proposals will be taken up again », declared Jean-Christophe Becquet, vice-president of civil education at APRIL.

« The Free Software community has an interest in the democratization of free software and in the adoption of appropriate legislation, especially with regards to patents and copyright, to promote its development and distribution in our society. To achieve this goal, APRIL will contact the new president upon the assumption of his duties », stated Benoît Sibaud, president of the association.

APRIL will also renew the initiative for the next legislative elections.

Thanks again to all responding candidates, good reading and a good election to all.


[1] Press release announcing the launch of the initiative

[2] Candidates' answers and commitments

[3]« Free Software, Free Society » by Richard Stallman, chair of the the Free Software Foundation and founder of the GNU project

[4] PCF, PS, UMP, Verts : they'll answer the questions...

[5] Interview of Éric Walter on ZDNet,39020774,39368727,00.htm


APRIL (the association for promotion and research in libre computing) is a pioneer of Free Software in France. Since 1996, it is a major player in the field of Free Software. Its aim: making Free Software more accessible for the general public, professionals and institutions, and thus more widespread. It also acts as a watchdog on digital freedoms, warning the public about the dangers of private interests keeping an exclusive stranglehold on information and knowledge.

Fore more information please visit our web site a the following address :, or contact us by email contactez nous or by phone at +33 11 46 49 25 15.

Press contacts :

Benoît Sibaud, president, +33 6 81 18 11 30

Frédéric Couchet, director, +33 6 60 68 89 31

Christophe Espern, public affairs, +33 6 86 46 45 99