New OSOR report about Open Source in the French public sector

04 July 2023

Author: Frida Hallin

OSOR just published the updated version of the report on the state of Open Source in France. This report is an overview of France’s use and policies on open source software (OSS) as of February 2023. It showcases the evolution over the last years. 

The report presents the major actors from the public sector, including, the recently created, The Free Software Unit which is driven by Etalab, a department of DINUM. The Free Software Unit is responsible for open source policy and leads the Open Source Software and Digital Commons Action Plan, both created in 2019. The Free Software Unit has also been part of creating the Digital Republic Bill which created the ‘open by default’ principle for data within the French government. 

Besides the Free Software Unit this report also presents the newly created Free Software Council (Conseil logiciels libres). This council was created by DINUM in 2022 and aims to be a space that brings together the public actors that are committed to the use and development of free software and the representatives of associations and initiatives that represent companies, local governments and citizens. In this setting DINUM and its members can share expertise that can support DINUM in formulating strategies for the future.               

In addition to major actors this report also includes two of the most recent policy milestones around OSS for France. First, the Open Source Software and Digital Commons Action Plan published in November 2021 and led by Etalab’s newly created Free Software Unit. This plan entails various objectives all aimed at fostering the use of open source in public administrations. And secondly the Declaration by the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union calling for a European Initiative for Digital Commons. Announced in April 2022, the declaration calls for the establishment of a working group of European Member States to discuss how to support digital commons as well as renewed efforts on the support of open source software and digital commons. 

This update also features the report “For a public policy on data, algorithms and source code” that was commissioned by the French Prime Minister and compiled by Eric Bothorel, a member of parliament. The report is a large-scale analysis of openness in public policy that provides suggestions for improvement, one of which is the establishment of an OSPO (Open Source Program Office) in DINUM, a goal that was achieved through the creation of the Free Software Unit.

Lastly the report highlights interesting initiatives, such as Label Territoires Numériques Libre, organised by ADULLACT. This initiative rewards cities and public bodies that pursue the use of open source collaborative solutions for their administration. A five-level system has been developed to assess the level of integration of cities and public bodies with open source. This grading system takes into account factors such as resource pooling, utilisation of public funds, accessibility of solutions, and participation in the open source ecosystem. OSOR had the chance to discuss with Nicolas Vivant, the Director of Digital Strategy of one of the awarded cities, Échirolles. 

You can read the report here. There is also a shorter factsheet with highlights from the report here

If you have any questions you can contact the OSOR team at