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FR: OpenMairie, competitive Open Source services for medium-sized cities

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OpenMairie, a French Open Source project aiming to develop governmental applications for medium sized French cities, is increasing the competition in the market for applications for public administrations.

The project has so far delivered more than ten applications, ranging from an application for managing cemeteries, to software managing and presenting local election results.

OpenMairie started in 2005. According to one its founders, François Raynaud, IT-director of the city of Arles, OpenMarie increasing competition was one of the main goals. "Proprietary software has simply become too expensive. The lack of competition between the three main vendors that have been active since the 1980's, is shocking. OpenMarie is priming the pump."

According to him cities like Arles realised that they themselves needed to take matters in hand. "Otherwise, nothing would happen."

Of all European countries, France has the highest number of municipalities. Of the 36.000 municipalities, some 700 have between 10.000 and 100.000 inhabitants. Each of these middle sized cities deliver about sixty governmental services.

OpenMairie offers these cities a framework within which other Open Source applications can be rapidly developed. The project is currently working on sixteen projects. Ten of these are completely operational.

One of these, the election application OpenElec, was awared a gold medal, named the best Open Source Software project by the 2006 Free Trophies event (Les trophées du Libre 2006). OpenElec is used by more than 80 municipalities. Another application in OpenMarie, OpenCemetiere, for managing funeral schedules and finding available concessions, is used by more than two hundred.

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