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French Senate recommends the use of free software for schools services

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France's Senate wants its primary and secondary schools to use free software solutions for its public services and distance education. The Parliament's upper house is about to accept a policy recommending that "this public service primarily uses free software and open document formats".

The endorsement is not for the entire education system, comments April, a French free software advocacy, but nevertheless: "This is probably the first time that free software would be part of a law in France."

In a statement, the group welcomes "the recognition of the importance of open formats and free software." The group it is important that educational software is based on this type of software, in order to "guarantee equal access for all, now and in the future."

Pleased
Conseil National du Logiciel Libre, a trade group representing over three hundred ICT firms, is "particularly pleased" with the draft policy, the group writes on its website. CNLL points out that the recommendation is an adaptation of a promise made by Francois Hollande when he was campaigning for the French presidency: "I hope that the free software quality, using open standard formats, are taught at school and at university, and their use is preferred in competitions and examinations, both for office and for scientific purposes, technical or documentaries."

If no more changes are made to the policy today, the Senate will send the text to the National Assembly. The lower house is expected to vote on the policy on 3 June.

More information:
April statement (in French)
April statement (in French)
April statement
CNLL statement (in French)
Toolinux news item (in French)
Connexion France news item