French government outlines plans for free software adoption

The plan could see up to 10 percent of money saved on proprietary software licenses reinvested in improving free software

By , IDG News Service |  Software

French free software user group April said on Monday that it hoped the plan would lead to a new government policy prioritizing the use and development of free software, inspired by recent changes in Italy's public procurement laws.

Another lobby group, the National Council for Free Software (CNLL), said that while the state had long been a user of free software, it had rarely taken such a clear stance in favor of it, nor proposed such concrete actions.

Among the advantages of free software, Ayrault wrote, were its lower cost, its flexibility in use, and the leverage it provides in discussions with other software publishers.

There are other advantages, said CNLL, including the contribution it can make to industrial growth. It can cut the costs, and increase the competitivity, of existing businesses, but can also contribute to the economy more directly, CNLL said: 30,000 already work in the free software ecosystem in France, and it is growing at 30 percent annually.

The report conceded that free software isn't for everyone. Applications used by a small number of people, or only one or two groups of users, are unlikely to provide the necessary economies of scale in development and support, it said, while complex systems can be difficult to break down into modules that can easily be replaced with existing free software projects, it said.

Peter Sayer covers open source software, European intellectual property legislation and general technology breaking news for IDG News Service. Send comments and news tips to Peter at peter_sayer@idg.com.

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