French assembly opts for open source

The French National Assembly is to adopt open source software for its deputies’ use, from the next legislative session.

The French National Assembly is to adopt open source software for its deputies’ use, from the next legislative session.

Each deputy’s desktop computer will be equipped with the Linux operating system, the Open Office productivity suite, the Firefox internet browser and an open source e-mail application.

The switch comes at the behest of Jean-Louis Debré, president of the Assembly, who had been approached by several deputies on the issue. It follows a study carried out with the backing of the Assembly’s political groups, which found that open source software now offered the functions the deputies needed and would bring substantial savings, despite set-up and implementation costs.

The move was a “concrete answer” to many deputies’ calls for greater use of open source software, an announcement from the Assembly said.

The French decision follows attempts by governments elsewhere to shift away from proprietary products and formats.

In June this year, the government of Belgium decided to adopt the open source Open Document Format across its operations, with all federal government services expected to be able to handle ODF files by September 2007. In the US, the Massachusetts state government is also considering a switch to ODF.

Comment on this article: computer.weekly@rbi.co.uk

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