We've had a lot of submissions lately about a proposal within the French Government to require use of Open Source software wherever possible, as well making the government more electronically accessible. Thus far however, either we've had material in French, or unsubstantiated - but thanks to one of our French-speaking readers who has translated the Senator's comments (above link) into English, you can click below to read the Senator's comments. This has to be one of the best ideas a national government has had in a long time - my hat (beret?) is off to the French.Update: 10/28 11:10 by H :Thanks to Julien Roussea who's sent over a translation of the legal proposal to require Open Source. As well, read his open letter regarding the issue.
Translation of comments by French Senator Pierre Laffitte to postings on the French Senat e-forum to his proposed law for making government services electronically accessible and mandating the use of open source software (I hope I did better than BabelFish).
Message from Senator Pierre Laffitte - email: email@example.com Sent : 28 Oct 1999 09:37:59
Subject: Comments on the state of the forum on 27 Oct 1999
The success of the forum opened by the Senat shows the interest in the proposed law. More than 400 messages are awaiting me when I get back from Stockholm & Tunis in six days.
Some of them are very potent and enthusiastic; in particular, I'm thinking of those from Jeff Thompson and Xavier Giannapoulos on the 26th October. Of course we wish that the European Countries and others will follow. I add that the approach matches the strategies of a number of global information technology Companies. It's by way of services adapted to the customers rather than by selling proprietary software that money should be made. IBM and SUN are of this opinion and MICROSOFT seems to me ready to follow this path.
I thank you in the name of my colleagues and myself for the many positive responses.
I note that few of the comments touch on the use of electronic messaging in government departments. At the moment the legal control services of regional government oppose their use between local groups, which explains Article 1.
Few comments concerning the billions of savings that would result from public services and companies using email for calls for offers (Article 2). Nobody has brought up the very strong incentive for modernisation that this example by public services would provoke.
Most of the messages focus on open source, hence these remarks above. (Articles (4 & 5)
The objective of this forum is to collect suggestions, these will all be analyzed and weighed, in particular by the sponsor in charge of proposing the law. It will be no doubt examined as extension of the the proposed law presented by Ms. E GUIGOU giving legal status to digital signatures.
As is customary in the Senat, this will be completed by auditions and everything will be examined with a sense of responsibility, rigorousness and analysis of the various consequences. This conforms the tradition of the role to the Senat at the heart of the French Parliament.
Sénateur Pierre LAFFITTE