What free software does the State recommend in 2022?

The interministerial digital directorate and Etalab update the list of free software recommended by state. There are 287.

Who says new year, says new recommendations. Like every year, the Interministerial Base of Free Software (SILL) updates its suggestions 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 the Twitter account code.gouv.fr (the “free software” center of Etalab and DINUM (interministerial digital department), includes 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 of the Raspberry Pi), Bitwarden (a word manager password), and web development tools, like Symfony, PHPUnit, AngularJS.

287 free software ARE recommended. // Source: SILL

If the SILL is intended as a guide for public services to orient in the choice 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 the SILL.

In the past, the 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 subject the DINUM in May 2021. There is a dedicated site from now on, which can be consulted at any time to see if there have been new entries since the last time.

An openness to free software for ten years

2012 is a first turning point in the openness of the State with regard to free software. The SILL was born in the wake of the Ayrault circular, which sets the guidelines and advice on its use. He offers ” many positive experiences “, benefits “ of a long practice of its use » and help to « skills development. »

Four years later, an article in the law for a Digital Republic 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 », in parallel with proprietary software.

This development is seen favorably by the Court of Auditors. She pointed out in 2018 that this category of software “ extends the scope of pooling beyond the sole sphere of the State », « amplifies the digital modernization of the State “. ” The sharing of free developments now appears to be a powerful factor of efficiency and influence “, she added.

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

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

The DINUM does not dispute these assets. But it does not envisage the abandonment of 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 expenditure in the training of personnel and a possible resistance on his part to a transition to another software.

Consequently, the 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, the 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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