Jacques Marzin, the French state CIO, confirmed on Monday that government is working hard at implementing the Open Source Guidelines signed last year by Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault. The guidelines promote the use of free softwares and open source in French ministries.
M. Marzin was one of the speakers at a conference called the "Etats généraux de l’Open Source", the first organized in France by the government and Syntec Numérique, an IT trade union.
The Government CIO explained that the methods for dealing with free software are now in place in every ministry. He wants to use existing ministerial working groups, like MIMO, which certifies and recommends a standard-based office productivity suite for French public administration, to play a key role at implementing the guidelines with the public agents. The tools and logistical support for these working groups are ready, CIO Marzin added.
The conference brought together many open source and free software actors in France to put open source at the heart of the next digital roadmap of the French government. The meeting should help create a level playing field for France's open source firms and make sure their open source model can succeed. The government will in the coming ten months organise several working groups, involving public administration, enterprises, education experts and associations. A report by these working groups is planned for October.
The CIO said that the publication of the Ayrault Guidelines inspired several ministries to organise events to increase awareness about free software and implicate users in ministries. "This is the start of a communication campaign", he said.
He pointed out that all ministries now have support for using free software, following the contract signed in june with Alter Way, Capgemini and Zenika and in october with Linagora (for the ministry of Finance). "Their support is key to make the use of free software become a reality."
A next step is the creation of a software catalog gathering all the applications supported. This should be ready in the coming three months. The CIO wants also to align legally the procurement policies on the very specific open source mechanisms. These will be finalized by the end of 2013. Jacques Marzin said finally an App store will be developed gathering supported software and some other developed by internal developers.
"Open source allows us to spend our resources smarter", the CIO said. It also promotes the use of open standard to make government’s systems more interoperable. "It is like building one unique system". Free software and open source are a way to promote the concept of sharing the building of IT systems in government and help to modernise the state.
The french state spend annually 3,8 billion euro in its IT, including 300 million euro in software licences et support. "We have to remain more and more vigilant and every services have to be efficient", he explained.