The highest administrative authority of the French Isère region reiterates the importance of Free Software for public procurement
Paris, 25 November 2013. Press release.
The Préfet (highest administrative authority) of the Rhône-Alpes Region sent a circular to the local administrations, to remind them of the public procurement rules that they must comply with for IT purchases, and encourage them to consider the available free software solutions. April, the CNLL (National Council of Free Software) and Ploss Rhône Alpes are delighted that their awareness-raising efforts are beginning to yield results.
Some calls for tender in the IT field explicitely exclude Free Software through their requirement of some proprietary technologies. These are illegal and discriminatory. Indeed, when a public tender requires a specific trademark, patent or technology, it eliminates all other solutions, including any innovative free software. Yet reference to any specific technology in the calls for tender is restricted by law. In late 2010, April and the CNLL had launched an awareness-raising campaign toward public purchasers. April notably published an argument “For open public procurement in the IT field” [fr]. The CNLL is currently organising the rencontres régionales du logiciel libre et du secteur public [fr] (Regional Meetings of Free Software and Public Administrations) which, among other things, aim to educate the local administrations to these issues1.
The Préfet of the Rhône-Alpes Region just sent a circular to reiterate the public procurement rules [fr] for purchase of hardware, software and IT services. It essentially stresses the importance of not locking the free software solutions and service providers out of the calls for tender. This circular is a result of the awareness-raising actions carried out, notably, by the Ploss Rhône Alpes.
“These practices often are those of public purchasers who are not aware of what is at stake,” explains Frédéric Couchet, April's Executive Director. He then adds “We are happy to see that our efforts to spread information and raise awareness on these subjects are beginning to yield results.”
“On top of the regulatory aspects, which should be complied with, our regional Préfet has very well understood the importance of Free Software for employment, as well as in the national and regional economies. These are the aspects that we, the Companies of the Free Digital Economy, find most important,” adds François Aubriot, the President of Ploss Rhône Alpes.
“Rather than a restriction, this requirement of the public procurement code is an opportunity for public purchasers to give equal consideration to the free solutions, the advantages of which will often prevail,” concludes Patrice Bertand, the CNLL Spokesman.
A Pioneer of Free Software in France since 1996, April is a major player in the democratisation of Free Software and open standards, and in their spread to the general public, professionals and institutions of 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 of information and knowledge by private interests.
The organisation is a non-profit and it has over 3,600 members, who use or produce Free Software.
Frédéric Couchet, Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org +33 6 60 68 89 31
Jeanne Tadeusz, Public Affairs Officer, email@example.com +33 1 78 76 92 82
About the National Council of Free Software
The National Council of Free Software [fr] is the national representation of the regional clusters that bring together enterprises specializing in Free Software. The CNLL represents 13 organisations and clusters and, through them, over 300 French companies with significant activity in Free/Libre Software.
The CNLL's primary mandate is to represent the Free Software ecosystem before the French public authorities and the existing national and international organisations.
Press contact: Amélie Vaysse, Communications Officer, press relations. (33) 1 41 40 11 42 — firstname.lastname@example.org
About the association Ploss Rhône-Alpes
The non-profit organisation Ploss Rhône-Alpes [fr] was created in March 2010. It aims to federate the companies that deal with Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) and to dynamise this market. Its primary goals are to boost job creation and business productivity, and influence the creation of pertinent university cursus. It brings more than 40 companies together and has wide partnership and support. Ploss-ra is actively engaged in the CNLL with 12 other member organisations and clusters. Our common goal is to promote and expand the activity in and around Free/Libre and Open Source Software.
The Rhône-Alpes leg of the “Regional Meetings of Free Software and Public Administrations” will take place in Lyon on the 2nd and 3rd of December (in connection with the Forum des interconnectés 2013). Complete information on http://rrll.fr [fr].