On the 13th June, Fleur Pellerin (French Minister Delegate for Small and Medium Enterprises, Innovation, and the Digital Economy) gave a vibrant speech during the inauguration of the Mozilla Foundation’s new office in Paris.
I don’t recall any French politician at minister level so plainly taking side with free software :
Free software is a crucial asset for our economy, in more than one way. First, it enables the struggle against technological dependance upon actors who own our everyday computing tools – it is therefore a true guarantee of digital sovereignty. Furthermore, as we see today and contrary to popular myth, free and open source create jobs. Original business models have been invented and they are important factors in productivity and competitiveness for both private and public sectors who can in this way better control their holdings and concentrate their efforts on their specific value additions. Finally, free software undermines rent-seeking behaviours adverse to innovation, and therefore aids in the emergence of new economic champions.
Will the bold ideas instantly translate into action ? No one expects magic – but with policy laid out so clearly, there is reason to believe that the French government is headed in the right direction.
Let’s take note of those good intentions, keep an eye on the actions that should follow, spread the word that free software is a crucial economic asset and vote for those who understand that !