Which free software does the State recommend in 2022?

The Interministerial Digital Directorate and Etalab update the list of free software recommended by the state. There are 287.

Who says new year, says new recommendations. As every year, the Interministerial Foundation for Free Software (SILL) updates its suggestions for governments who want to leave certain proprietary programs. 2022 is no exception to this rule and additional proposals – several dozen – have been added in recent months.

The document, dated August 5 and shared by the Twitter account code.gouv.fr (the “free software” center of Etalab and DINUM (interministerial digital department), since the beginning of the year), contains several new functions, in addition to programs that are still recommended, such as Firefox, Gimp, Chromium, Debian, Drupal, FileZilla, Discourse of Apache.

Among the novelties arriving this year are Kleopatra (a certificate manager for cryptographic operations), Blender (a modeling software), Raspberry Pi OS (the operating system of the Raspberry Pi), Bitwarden (a password for word managers), and web development tools such as Symfony , PHPUnit, AngularJS.

287 free software is recommended. // Source: SILL

If the SILL is intended as a guide for public services to orientate in the selection of free software, the selection work also takes into account their needs and their feedback. In this respect, the contributions are diverse: partners such as Pôle Emploi, the Ministry of Culture, IGN, CEA and universities have contributed to the SILL.

In the past, the SILL has benefited from an annual update. Now it’s done ‘on the fly’. ” It is continuously updated by the working groups and published by Etalab in a web version. On this subject, the DINUM will be indicated in May 2021. There is now a special site, which can be consulted at any time to see if there have been any new registrations since the last time.

Being open to free software for ten years

2012 is a first turning point in the state’s openness to free software. The SILL was created in the wake of Ayrault’s circular, which lays down the guidelines and advice for its use. He offers” many positive experiences “, benefits ” of a long practice of using it? » and help to « skills development. »

Four years later, an article in the Digital Republic Act supported this trajectory, asking the services that they ” encourage the use of free software and open formats during the development, purchase or use, in whole or in part, of these information systems », parallel to proprietary software.

This development is assessed favorably by the Court of Auditors. She pointed out in 2018 that this category of software “ extends the scope of pooling beyond the exclusive sphere of the state », « strengthens the digital modernization of the state “.” Sharing free developments now seems to be a powerful factor of efficiency and influence she added.

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A librarian. Allegory. // Source: Dominique Génin

These advantages are recognized by DINUM. Free software is verifiable (the source code is publicly accessible), manageable (which makes it possible to see if there are malicious acts), and modifiable (you can create a branch to add missing features). In short, everything is transparent and anyone can use it, without any real restrictions.

The DINUM does not dispute these advantages. But there is no point in dispensing with proprietary software, which also has arguments – when it is said that free software costs less than a proprietary resource, one must nevertheless consider expenditure on staff training and a possible resistance from its side against a switch to another software.

The SILL is therefore primarily a guide to support public services. It is not necessarily a matter of replacing everything in an ideological way. On this subject, the DINUM recalled that ” The state’s approach promotes overall efficiency, beyond any dogmatism, to allow it to choose between the various solutions, free, publishers, or mixed. »

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