Published annually since 2013, the French Inter-ministerial Catalogue of Open Source Software (Socle Interministériel de Logiciels Libres, SILL) is a list of recommended open source software for French public administrations. Previously only available as a PDF document, the 2020 edition is also available as a web version developed as an open source software.
The SILL is published by Etalab, a department of the Inter-ministerial Directorate for Digital Affairs (Direction interministérielle du numérique, DINUM). The catalogue is drawn up by public officials with knowledge in the IT domain and specific expertise on one or more open source solutions. The aim of the SILL catalogue is to share the knowledge from solutions’ experts to incentivise other public administrations in adopting open source software.
The solutions listed in the SILL are grouped in three categories: workstations and office software (MIMO), servers and database solutions (MIMPROD), and development environments (MIMDEV). The prefix MIM- refers to Inter-ministerial Mutualisation (Mutualisation interministérielle) and each of these MIM- categories are managed by a specific working group contributing to this catalogue.
For a software solution to be recommended by the SILL and published in the catalogue, three main criteria must be met:
- The software has to be fully open source and published under a free license recognised by the Free Software Foundation or the Open Source Initiative;
- A public servant is required to act as a designated expert for the software within the French administration; and
- The solution needs to be used by at least one of the French public administrations contributing to the catalogue.
The 2020 Edition of the SILL
Until 2019, the SILL was updated once a year and published as a PDF document, whereas now, it is continuously updated by the working groups (MIMO, MIMPROD, and MIMDEV) in a web version. The SILL website is available as open source software and the code has been published on GitHub by Etalab under an EPL 2.0 License.
The 2020 edition of the SILL, launched in the beginning of May, references 190 open source software solutions for public administrations, and it counts 34 new entries from the previous edition. Amongst the referenced solutions, 144 achieved the recommended status while 46 remain under observation by the working groups and designated expert to assess the relevance of the solution for public administrations. The newly launched SILL website is available in French only and features the solutions of the 2020, 2019, and 2018 editions. This web version includes statistics on the selected software as well as filters and a search engine to browse the solutions. Each recommended software has a factsheet providing basic information on the solution, including its purpose, license, website URL, a link to the source code, and a recommended version. The factsheet also directs to the solution’s page on Le Comptoir du Libre, a collaborative platform from the French organisation Adullact, which lists open-source software useful to public administrations. On the page dedicated to each solution on Le Comptoir du Libre, readers can register as users or service providers, and read or leave testimonies regarding the use of the software. This platform references 359 open source solutions, as of May 2020. The criteria required for a solution to be featured on Le Comptoir du Libre is not as strict as in the SILL as it is not required for a public servant to act as a designated expert nor for the solution to be already used within a French public administration.