French State IT Looks to Take Example from Free Software

Paris, May 2nd, 2015. For immediate release.

Jacques Marzin, Director of DISIC (the French interministerial directorate for information systems and communication), wishes to strengthen and extend the public services' strategy with respect to Free Software. April welcomes this and encourages the government to give the DISIC the means necessary to implement this strategy.

The head of DISIC published, on May 19th, 2015, an op-ed entitled Free Software: Towards a Strengthened Public Strategy. In the article, Jacques Marzin, explains the importance of the SILL (the sum of all the recommended interministerial free software programs) and calls for “new state governance with regard to free software”, a governance whose organization remains to be defined. Following the publication of this article, Jacques Marzin gave an interview on Next INpact explain his opinion column in detail.

In particular, Jacques Marzin explains in it that “We now have the conviction – shared by ministers who've made these choices – that it's time to truly "form community". That is, not to merely release free software, but also to tend, collectively, to its use, with an interministerial reflection, rather than to reproduce with free technologies the warehoused developments we know from elsewhere. Free software seems to be the very example on which we should be able to form community!”.

Moreover, he would also like that “DISIC be more prescriptive and more directive in terms of editorial lines that it has been up to now” and that more civil servants be able to devote part of their work time to free software, in all safety. He indicates also that one of the DISIC's priorities is “to increase the accessiblity of LibreOffice”. Is this a way of announcing that the DISIC is going to provide the resources, human or financial, to work on the accessibility of LibreOffice?

Jacques Marzin explains, though, that he is not in favor of a policy of obligation in terms of free software, a policy “which, moreover, does not exist in any country in the world” according to him; however, on this matter, April wishes to point out that, in 2013, the French parliament, for the first time, put into legislation priority to free software for a public service, with the adoption of the higher-learning-and-research bill, that Italy set up priority to free software in administration, and that, more recently, the Indian government published its "Policy Relative to the Adoption of Free Software for the Indian Government," which encourages the adoption of free software in government organizations like “preferred option” over proprietary software.

“April is delighted by the will manifested by the director of the DISIC to "form community", an attitude that the free software community shares, and encourages the government to give the DISIC the means necessary to implement this strategy” said Frédéric Couchet, April's executive director.

In our terminology: the term "souches" used by Jacques Marzin in his interview is used in the Ayrault memorandum on the good use of free software in the French administration and can be considered as a synonym of "free software".