French Minister of the Economy, Finance and Industry, Thierry Breton, has decided to support French Open Source Software industry. Representatives from the field are to submit the ‘competitiveness pole’ project to the Minister. This center of excellence’s mission would consist of federating research and facilitating access to financing.The Minister of Economy, Finance and Industry received the report on the Intangible Economy, whose objective was to define the tendencies in the French economy capable of re-energizing the country’s growth. Among these is the potential of Free Software. "A new economic and technological model, built on free software, is forming in the IT industry”, Mr. Breton said. As this new opportunity opens up, it is “calling into question the dominant positions formed in the software industry over the last 15 years. "France must seize this opportunity, in a sector where the country is teeming with talent”, he said. In such context, the Minister announced the upcoming creation of a ‘competitiveness pole for Open Source’, with the objective of federating French talents and competencies in the field. As for the already existing 66 Competitiveness poles, the Open Source pole would be managed by representatives of the sector, namely: the ‘Association des Sociétés de Services en Logiciels Libres’ (ASS2L) which gathers around 50 free software companies, Mandriva, Nuxeo, Idealx and 8 public IT research laboratories. Once its structure is created, the pole will define research and development lines to be followed by the sector. It will be possible for companies and laboratories to submit projects conforming to these lines in order to receive the competitiveness pole’s label. Detaining the label would facilitate the awarding of financial support from qualified organisms such as the Industrial Innovation Agency. The Pole is expected to start its activities within the first semester of 2007. © European Communities 2007
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