Common patrimony of free software for local authorities and administrations (ADULLACT)

Published on: 11/06/2007
ADULLACT purposes to constitute, develop and promote a common patrimony of free software, in professional areas, thanks to public funds and members’ competences. ADULLACT also contributed to the Declaration of the World Summit of Cities and Local Authorities on the Information Society, adopted in Lyon on 5th December 2003, thanks to its proposition #35: “Privileging, whenever possible, the use and development of free software in the investments made by our cities and regions, so that these investments can be used by other local authorities.”

Policy Context

Proprietary computing is in a monopoly situation which makes fear a slowing down of inventions, whereas libre software movement allows to share what we do the best, in order to do better, without reinventing the wheel, and to transfer computing economy towards services. In administrations and above all in local communities, the situation makes this conflict unbearable. (We could say the same thing about small and medium companies). The externalization, the renunciation of internal development, made public computing very dependent. The challenge of e-administration is going to lead us quickly, if we don't pay attention, from the fracture to the bill. On computerizing their structures thanks to great programs entrusted to somebody else, and on turning out in a disorganised manner, administrations are going to spend a fortune without reaching their goal. This is one the scenarios thought by the « rapport de la Coste » in France. We can say there are three possible scenarios : 1) the e-administration keeps on with propietary softwares and make off with the takings. More and more, private services more efficient are taking the place of the administration. 2) the e-administration is cut down to avoid scenario 1. The state is unable to meet the demand for services expressed by citizens and private services more efficient are, more and more, taking the place of the administration. 3) The third scenario is the only solution : make use of and developat the same time libre softwares.

Description of target users and groups

120 local authorities are already member of ADULLACT. ADULLACT’s members represent about 39 millions of citizens.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

Local communities or administrations make softwares developed. They rarely do this development under free licence. Mentioning this famous excuse we do not find...As if libre software programers were developing with lunar languages, Martien algorithmes, and an exotic computing. More often than not they make these softwares developed thanks to propietary development, and also they finance a product which will be resold to other local communities or administrations by the company that developed this product. Public money paid this development. But it will pay it hundred times ! Some software developments are realized thanks to Public Fund and the public structures which developed these projects take advantage, somehow or other, of a guaranteed income from the sale of these products to other local communities or administrations. This is the message ADULLACT strives to diffuse. Multi-channel issues: - technical resources and methodology for cooperative development of professional software - support of e-administration : realization of a secured teletransmission platform between Administration, sharing of an electronic public contracts publication platform, etc. - creation of cooperative groups gathering local authorities with the same computing problems

Main results, benefits and impacts

ADULLACT has been set up by local communities, regions, departments, urban areas, towns and villages in order to build, develop and promote a public patrimony of libre softwares. Specially in the ground of professional softwares where they don't expand spontaneously ADULLACT set up a system « à la sourceforge » named GForge (, so that everybody will be able to take part in our projects. The city of Paris released its Internet portal basically the day ADULLACT was founded, at the end of September 2002. Local communities which adhere to the ADULLACT are starting to give developments they realized in-house. Town Council's decisions about GPL-ing are growing in number. ADULLACT mobilizes local communities' programers so that they work together, thanks to Internet, at a distance, and from all the french territory, in order to develop together what they need. It is likely that academics also work on this public libre software patrimony constitution. May be citizens are going to give us what they did, and take part to our movement. ADULLACT's initiative has allowed the realization of several open source software : - S²LOW (secured teletransmission platform from Administration to Administration) - Parapheur Electronique (signing application) - GTT (time management system) - OpenElec (election management system) Today, ADULLACT represents : - 120 local authorities, either 39 791 663 people - 32 associations - 18 companies GForge represents : - 2 646 programmers - 305 Open Source projects - 10 000 downloadings by month Innovation: In public spheres, the dimensions of demand is huge. The number of word-processing packages, the number of spreadsheets, the number of servers is huge in this ground. But professional softwares are also very numerous and exchange systems between administrations of different level are very numerous. Is it really impossible for users, instead of expecting professional libre softwares to be, to form a league in order to make developed, or to develop, the softwares they need ? The novelty is summarized in the following sentence : before looking for a software on the market, we must ask the others if they have developed a common solution.

Return on investment

Return on investment: Not applicable / Not available

Track record of sharing

Many local authorities have published under GNU-GPL licence and shared their internal developments: - Paris, with Lutèce project (Content Management System) - Arles, with Open projects (OpenElec, OpenCourrier, OpenStock, OpenResultat, etc.) - Lyon, with GIpSynoise project (Sonorous cartography) - Selestat, with GTech project (technical intervention management) - Montpellier, with associative nursery project ADULLACT's cooperative groups haves allowed the realization of several open source software : - S²LOW (secured teletransmission platform from Administration to Administration) - Parapheur Electronique (signing application) - GTT (time management system)

Lessons learnt

1. ADULLACT purposes to constitute, develop and promote a common patrimony of free software, especially in professional areas, by federating its members’ competences. 2. ADULLACT works essentially towards local authorities 3. Libre software for each development financed thanks to Public Fund ! Scope: National