French president Nicolas Sarkozy says that 15 percent of the IT budgets of the country's public administrations is spent on purchasing services on free and open source software and that this amount is growing by 30 percent per year, reports CNLL (Conseil National du Logiciel Libre), a trade group representing IT companies providing free and open source software services. Sarkozy told the group that free software is "strategic for the development of France's digital sector."
CNLL over the past months approached all candidates for the upcoming presidential elections, to get their opinion on free and open source topics. The trade group writes this week that the two main candidates, Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande, would both support policies favouring this type of software.
Hollande emphasises that free and open source software allows sharing of applications and increases competition between providers of IT services.
The trade group also reports that both candidates pledge support for small and medium-sized enterprises. Sarkozy pointed to tax credits his government has given to SMEs, and Hollande promises to make it possible for SMEs to compete in public procurement, by appointing a special mediator.
The candidates' opinions diverge on the question whether to allow patenting of software. CNLL writes that Hollande is opposed to such patents, by citing an 'ongoing commitment that began with the battle led by' socialist MEP Michel Rocard. "We will ensure that the implementation of the Community patent is not an opportunity to legitimize software patents, mathematical methods and business methods." Sarkozy is in favour of software patents, reports CNLL.
The two also don't agree on the role of free and open source in education. CNLL says that Sarkozy is 'inclined to favour a greater role of free software in education, but without making it a priority.' For Hollande it will be a priority: "Education should not make students mere consumers of IT but creators who can decipher and who can write code for this digital universe."
CNLL statement (in French)
Le Magit news item (in French)
Ecrans news item (in French)
Logiciel net news item (in French)
Silicon news item (in French)
ZDNet news item (in French)
Le Monde news item (in French)
01 Net news item (in French)