The IT services provider Atos has been awarded the inter-ministerial contract for free software software support, started on October 1st. This is the third contract offer dedicated to OSS support in French ministries. However, until now, there have been two separate contracts: one dedicated to the Ministry of the Economy and Finance (Minefi); a second for the other ministries, including the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of the National Education and the Ministry of Defense.
The 2020 contract now includes all support services within a single unified framework. It covers more software (275) than the previous interministerial contract and operates on a global package for all ministries, at fixed price. Until then, this had been based on a ticketing system, as OSOR mentions. Linagora was awarded the two previous contracts.
The value of this unified contract, which is obviously higher, is more than EUR 4 million (source MarchéOnLine.com).
According to well-informed source who preferred not to be named, this higher number of software "does not change anything for Minefi, but a lot for other ministries”. In previous contracts, " sometimes, some ministries had only about ten products in this contract, due to lack of adequate budget".
The same source also indicates that Atos is planning to use subcontractors, "many software makers in mainstream". "Several French SMEs are satisfied with this kind of partnership, which is supposed to redistribute the money collected by the contract," the source says.
As with former contracts, this new one includes a key point on contributing the source code to free software communities. But until now, “not much had been done”. The same source explains : “Unfortunately, the public administration is often working on old software and there are a lot of backports of bugs that have been solved but that need to be ported to older versions”.