What free software does the state recommend in 2022?

The inter-ministerial 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 Base of Free Software (SILL) updates its proposals for administrations wishing to abandon certain proprietary programs. 2022 is no exception to this rule, and additional proposals – a few dozen – have been added in recent months.

The document, dated August 5 and shared by Twitter account code.gouv.fr (the “free software” center of Etalab and DINUM (interministerial digital department), contains several new features since the beginning of the year, in addition to programs that continue to be recommended, such as Firefox, Gimp, Chromium, Debian, Drupal, FileZilla, Discourse or 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 for the Raspberry Pi), Bitwarden (a word manager password) and web development tools such as Symfony, PHPUnit, AngularJS.

287 free software recommended. // Source: HERRING

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

Previously, SILL 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. “, Indicated on this topic DINUM in May 2021. There is a dedicated website from now on which can be consulted at any time to see if there have been new entries since the last one.

An openness to free software for ten years

2012 is a first turning point in the state’s openness regarding free software. SILL was born in the wake of the Ayrault circular, which sets guidelines and advice on its use. He offers ” many positive experiences “, advantage” of a long practice of its use » and help to « competence development. »

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

This development is viewed positively by the Court of Auditors. She pointed out in 2018 that this category of software ” expands the scope of pooling beyond the sole realm of the state », « reinforces the digital modernization of the state “. ” The sharing of free developments now appears to be a strong factor for efficiency and influence “, she added.

animal penguin
A librarian. Allegory. // Source: Dominique Génin

These advantages are recognized by DINUM. Free software is verifiable (its source code is available to everyone), controllable (which makes it possible to see if there are malicious operations), and adaptable (you can create a branch to add missing features). In short, everything is transparent and anyone can use it without real restrictions.

DINUM does not dispute these benefits. But it does not intend to abandon proprietary software, which also has arguments – if it is said that free software costs less than a proprietary tool, it is nevertheless necessary to consider the cost of training staff and possible resistance on his part to a transition to another software.

Therefore, SILL is above all a guide to support public services. It is not necessarily a question of replacing everything in an ideological way. On this subject, DINUM recalled that ” The state’s approach favors overall efficiency, outside of any dogmatism, to allow it to choose between the different solutions, free, publishers or mixed. »

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