“Free software not free”: a DINUM catalog accused of open source washing

Screenshot: the catalog drop-down offers three distribution choices

The Interministerial Digital Directorate (DINUM) has just published a catalog, entitled “GouvTech: digital solutions for public services”, revealed the Public Actors site: “It currently includes 204 software programs in all areas: authentication, messaging , document editing, electronic archiving, computer security. Whether they are deployed in SaaS mode, that is to say online and on demand, or else only on the (physical) site of the public actor. They can be published by companies, administrations, local authorities or associations, under a proprietary (and therefore restrictive) or free license. ”

Based on editors’ statements alone

As Public Actors points out, “the evaluation of these solutions is however based only on the declarations of the editors”. DINUM launched at the beginning of February a call for start-ups wishing to be listed.

However, for free software (“open source” in the presentation of the catalog, which therefore does not use the term “free and open software” used by the Prime Minister in his circular of April 27, there are “false positives” “so to speak.

The misleading ambiguity of this catalog, which presents software that is not open source as “open source”, has aroused criticism from April: Frédéric Couchet, the general delegate of the libriste association, comments on it in a series of tweets.

He emphasizes that “this catalog identifies solutions. If we check ‘Open source solution’ in ‘Distribution’ we obtain 17 proposed solutions:
Remocra is not free (CC-BY-NC-SA), Calenco either a priori, there are surely others. It should also be noted that on the sheets there is no information concerning the license of the solutions indicated as free. “

Acid conclusion from Frédéric Couchet: “To venture into the publication of such a catalog at the very moment when Jean Castex signs a circular announcing a free software mission that doesn’t give her a damn I find. But perhaps the director of DINUM has not received the circular or has not read it. ”

“Not very serious”

“It is not very serious on the part of the State to participate in open source washing”, deplores for its part “an unnamed digital actor of the State”, quoted by Public actors.

By the way, Note of a tweet on this catalog: “91.7% of proprietary solutions in this catalog … good score! Little reminder of article 16 of the Axelle Lemaire Law? “They encourage the use of free software … when … buying or using … these information systems” “

Suggestion Etienne Gonnu, in charge of public affairs at April, instead use the SILL (established at the end of 2015): “Administrations can use this self-referenced catalog with random information and therefore less useful than a search engine. Or the Interministerial Base of Free Software, produced by DINUM agents, with proven solutions and reliable information. “

Read also

Castex circular: creation of a free software and digital commons mission at DINUM – April 30, 2021

After the Bothorel report, free software players demand a public strategy – January 23, 2021

The Bothorel mission on open data calls for more voluntarism in favor of free software – December 31, 2020

LibreOffice, Gimp, Firefox … All free software recommended by the State for 2016 – December 23, 2015

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