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AFUL's meeting with French Government officials
Linux Posted by sengan on Tuesday January 19, @11:35PM
from the push-free-software-hard dept.
AFUL, the french Free Software user group, held a half day conference touting the benefits of free software to a government panel in the French Prime-Minister's building. The government panel (MTIC) is responsible for introducing new technologies to different ministries. A french customs official described the easy introduction to their intranet of a Linux web server which has shown itself to be very reliable. Another presentation discussed the commercial need to force customers into an update cycle. It compared Windows 3.11's reliability to that of women's stockings which are designed to break quickly. The french city of Lille's computer department also enjoyed Linux' ease of use, scalability and efficiency on older hardware. Finally, Bernard Lang's presentation did not pull its punches. He discussed the dangers for the French economy of relying on foreign black-box software: proprietary software reduces local employment, tends to concentrate power monopolistically, while free software increases local employment (since most software jobs are in the service industry), guarantees originality, competition, conformity to open standards, and a free choice of service provider. The website referred to is the French Prime Minister's Governmental website, so we can be hopeful things will start happening. Links courtesy of Nouvelles Neuves Linux, and Translation services available from Babelfish.

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  • The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. Slashdot is not responsible for what they say.

    Love those Frogs...
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 20, @12:39AM
    Beautiful demo of French Logic in action...

    Let's use this great GLOBALY DEVELOPED set of OSS software to reinforce the paranoid, protectionist French economic policy. But, hey, what more should one expect from a bunch of Socialists.

    Don't they know that if they buy enough software from Bill, he will grant them a certain measure of economic return? Petty Grands for Intelectual Property and what not... Extend, embrace and buy IS a global concept for MicroSoft... It's not like they're going to keep Bill out of their airspace or anything... hehe..

    Don't they know if French culture has anything important to contribute to OSS, it would have (has) already happened (and will continute to happen)?

    Then again, maybe it's not the "French", per say; but, goverments, in general, that just don't get it.

    OSS is NOT the CPM of the 90s!
    Love those Frogs... (Score:1)
    by J-F Mammet on Wednesday January 20, @02:02AM
    (User Info) http://www.softgallery.com
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think a french guy (remy card) wrote the ext2 code in linux. Take a look also for example at iglooftp, perhaps the best GUI FTP client for linux, look in the credits.

    Please don't be so biased. Us frenchies are not the best people in the world but neither are the americans (can you say protectionism ?). I (and a lot do also) have a great respect for american people, but do not say linux and oss exists because of the americans. As far as I know linus is finish no ?

    I think we should all rejoice the french government notices OSS. Don't forget that last year Bill Gates was treated exactly like a foreign country president. A lot of people found that really shocking, and it's good to see OSS is not forgotten.

    Pardon my rather bad english spelling, I'm just a little frog lost in an english world 8)

    J-F Mammet
    Love those Frogs... (Score:1)
    by Christopher B. Browne (cbbrowne@hex.net) on Wednesday January 20, @08:50AM
    (User Info) http://www.hex.net/~cbbrowne/linux.html
    You're not wrong; Remy Card is indeed a "Linux luminary" due to his efforts on ext2.

    On occasion any nation can come off as "jerks." The French put together the factors that they deploy a lot of political opinion/theory, do things about it, and have been doing this for several hundred years. Put those together and...

    The substantial contributions of INRIA to Free Software must be considered. And sometimes other things come up; I finally saw this French translation of a paper I wrote last year; excellent translation effort. Some of the French version seems to read better than what I wrote in English...
    Those who do not understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it, poorly. -- Henry Spencer

    Love those Frogs... (Score:1)
    by orabidoo (see@my.webpage) on Wednesday January 20, @10:27AM
    (User Info) http://www.eleves.ens.fr:8080/home/espel/index.html
    Right. France is a loud country and embarrasses itself quite often (by exploding nukes on the Pacific, or trying to regulate the use of "proper French" in places), but sometimes they'll go and do a thing that's just plain right and clueful. This looks like an example of it. (btw, I say "they" b/c I'm not French, even though I live there)
    Protectionism (Score:1)
    by K-Man on Wednesday January 20, @05:32PM
    (User Info)
    I was catching up on movie star gossip in the Economist last week, and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but statistics on protectionism.

    Guess which country has the highest percentage of people against free trade? Starts with U, ends with nited States.

    This was a global survey. Even places like Korea, which used to execute foreigners, are way ahead of the US.

    One word: INRIA. (Score:1)
    by Vermeer (mv@NOSPAM.fgi.fi) on Wednesday January 20, @04:21AM
    (User Info) http://www.netby.net/Oest/Europa-Alle/vermeer
    The French have a national informatics and automation research institute. How many countries have that? AND it participates actively in the w3c work. AND it has produced some great free software, such as Scilab, Toth, LyX (contributing), .... and LOTS, LOTS more.


    Linux. And it's free to boot.

    One word: INRIA. (Score:1)
    by Pudding & Pie on Wednesday January 20, @11:09AM
    (User Info)
    Not entirely true,though.Some European countries
    have quite similar national labs (CWI in Netherlands,GMD in Germany,...),though smaller
    and with lesser links with local Universities.
    And in the US,there are many targeted Federal
    Research Centers such as Livermore,Los Alamos,
    and so on,but not on Computer Science and Applied
    Maths as the former...

    Love those Frogs... (Score:1)
    by Pig Hogger (lugalle@yahoo.com) on Wednesday January 20, @10:22PM
    (User Info) http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Senate/9693/
    I guess that you anglo-saxons will never understand that, but we, the French, trust the State a lot more than you do. After all, we did not have a Magna-Carta to start to distillate doubts about the State in our collective neuroses.

    We view the State as an ally, not an ennemy. And since we believe that the State plays a positive role in Society, we do not regard a career to serve the State as something to be ashamed of. So, the best talents are naturally drawn to Public Service, rather than going into private business.

    The (totally free - the State pays all tuition fees) French Public Service schools (Polytechnique, École Nationale d'Administration, École Normale, Saint-Cyr, etc.) are strictly reserved for the very best of the graduates and provide a yearly crop of extremely talented and exquisitely qualified civil servants, who upon graduation, will put their talent at the service of the State and, by extension, of all French Society.

    So it is quite natural that, since it is being run by extremely competent people, a French State will more than often take the right, obvious, decision (which, incidentally, goes towards the benefit of the majority of people, rather than according to the "laws of the free market"). Like supporting OSS.

    The French put intellectual achievement ahead of financial success; writers and academics enjoy one of the best perception within French society, quite ahead of successful entrepreneurs. Could there be a better intellectual achievement than collaborating in establishing a new solid and robust and open operating system standard?

    After all, such an OSS OS will benefit mankind far much more than writing (yet another) book of verses, or composing (yet another) symphony or opera...

    -- ----------------------------------------------
    Vive le logiciel... Libre!!!
    (Charles de Gaulle, after a good drink)

    Love those Frogs... (Score:1)
    by Submarine on Wednesday January 20, @08:03AM
    (User Info)
    There's such a thing called "reality". It's the thing you should check your beliefs and prejudices against BEFORE posting. Think of it.

    women's stockings ...
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 20, @11:37AM
    I like the analogy with women's stockings.
    Would like to take a step further though. Just
    read somewhere that Victoria Secrets' merchandise
    is designed the same way, will last at most
    a year. What's a good candidate to compare it
    with? Windows 2000?

    women's stockings ... (Score:1)
    by orabidoo (see@my.webpage) on Wednesday January 20, @11:45AM
    (User Info) http://www.eleves.ens.fr:8080/home/espel/index.html
    dunno, what is Victoria Street, where is it and what do they sell in it?

    If it's (just guessing) expensive clothes, no, they don't just last one year (not that I'd buy any anyway, I think spending more than, say, $40 on a piece of clothing is not worth it).

    your are not married... (Score:1)
    by Axe (Axe@HATESPAM@Mindless.com) on Wednesday January 20, @07:58PM
    (User Info) http://
    ..obviously ?

    ------------------------------ Chop'em
    History of Free Software
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 20, @02:14AM
    This shouldn't really be a new thing to the French Governemnet; they've been developing free software for some time now to support the french economy. INRIA, I love 'em.
    History of Free Software (Score:1)
    by Dom2 (dom@myrddin.demon.co.uk) on Wednesday January 20, @08:47AM
    (User Info)


    Just think what the world would be like without XPM!. And for a long while, ctwm was one of the staple window managers if you didn't like twm.

    And now, INRIA are developing and ipv6 implementation for *BSD. I think we owe these people a lot.

    kinda cool
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 20, @01:24AM
    even though the videotext thing got thwacked by the internet, it looks like having the intelligencia running a bunch of ministries can pay off.

    i must say i am far more impressed with this action than the way most US computer/science/math professors gave up on unix and embraced NT.

    ah...the latest from the country that gave us wine, the best food and oral sex...who could expect less.

    "I fart in your general direction" -- M. Python
    kinda cool (Score:1)
    by ewhac on Wednesday January 20, @01:42AM
    (User Info) http://www.best.com/~ewhac/
    I must say i am far more impressed with this action than the way most US computer/science/math professors gave up on unix and embraced NT.

    In all liklihood, it wasn't the teaching staff that made the decision to go with NT; it was the administration. PHBs are rife in the American educational system, and procurement is a political process rather than a scientific one.


    kinda cool (Score:1)
    by orabidoo (see@my.webpage) on Wednesday January 20, @10:31AM
    (User Info) http://www.eleves.ens.fr:8080/home/espel/index.html
    wine was known to the Romans, oral sex probably goes back to the dawn of time, and the best food is a matter of taste, but I'd put it either in India or somewhere in the Middle East :)
    kinda cool (Score:1)
    by Submarine on Wednesday January 20, @08:35AM
    (User Info)
    For the "small history":

    Last year, top government officials were contacted by Microsoft, which basically said that France was "behind" in information technology and Microsoft would help it improved its education system on advanced technologies. Bill Gates even met Chirac on this.

    Of course, lots of people (engineers, academics...) didn't like this. The problem was that Microsoft did its marketing right: the POLITICIANS are indeed very backward when it comes to technology, and they can get misled by clever marketdroids. If I were even more cynical, I'd say that politicians think of themselves as so bright and intelligent that if they are nonknowledgeable in a particular area, then it must be that the whole country is as ignorant as them.

    So AFUL was founded notably by people from INRIA. AFUL is mainly a lobbying group for Linux and free software.

    Our American friends may not be aware of this, but the bugs in Windows and Linux advocacy have been discussed on prime-time nation-wide radios; not to mention the mainstream magazines and journals talking about Linux.

    I begin to think that after all academics can make good lobbyists.

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 19, @11:53PM
    hmmm.. (Score:1)
    by Axe (Axe@HATESPAM@Mindless.com) on Tuesday January 19, @11:55PM
    (User Info) http://
    ------------------------------ Chop'em
    Rock on!
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 20, @12:00AM
    We need more folk like this willing to sit down and rationally argue our case. We don't have to be on the proprietary software companies' team, but we have to play their game.

    Clear, solid, easy-to-understand reasons to prefer free software to proprietary will go a lot farther than "Linux rulez!"

    I like the designed-like-women's-stockings argument; I may have to appropriate it...

    IRONY: French & Open Systems
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 20, @12:01PM
    This coming from the country where it was (maybe
    still is) impossible to own an auto parts store
    because the mechanics union wouldn't allow it.

    Women's Stockings - wrong
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 20, @12:11PM
    That "women's stockings are designed to break soon" is ridiculous. Basic economics will tell you that. If a company could produce longer lasting stockings (say that lasted 5-10 times as long), wouldn't they rather then sell those for 5-10 times as much (at least, since the customer wouldn't have to buy as many, and would value the time saved on trips to the store and less headache from broken stockings), and save on raw materials? Even in the absence of competition, which would spur introduction of better stocking technology, this would happen.
    planned obsolescence: ubiquitous
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 20, @03:29PM
    every significant variety of consumer goods sold in the U.S. (i can't speak for elsewhere) is designed to wear out rapidly. this is old news. airplanes and ships keep going for decades; why does your buick crap out so soon? because the people who buy airplanes and ships are spending a ton of money which belongs to somebody who cares about ROI, and people who buy buicks are in a different situation. the consumer market is a weird critter.

    your argument is appealing, but i think it forgets that the savings on raw materials is offset by having to buy a better quality of material, and also by having to spend more on design and production process. there's also the fact that the rapid-replacement thing provides greater short-term gains, provided the customers are willing to put up with it (and in some markets, they are). in a stock-market driven economy, short-term gains are all that matters.

    of course, i'm not going to try and pretend i can give you an optimal solution off the top of my head. your solution may well be the optimal one, and i hope it is. but even if it is, the final point is that that does not mean that companies will make the right decision. these people screw themselves every day, just like the rest of us.

    planned obsolescence: NOT ubiquitous
    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 22, @07:23PM
    I don't recall things like socks, shoes, other underwear, and even deodorant wearing out so rapidly. Most consumer goods _don't_ wear out rapidly in my experience, except for obviously cheap products known to fail. The big exception is electronics, where the rapid advance of technology makes computers obsolete. But I'd rather have modern computers than 1970s technology and have 1970s computers still fine. And those computers usually do still run, just not acceptably by today's standards.
    Buicks were out rapidly because it would be expensive to have a longer lasting car, and people don't want to spend that much at one time. Long lasting stockings would not be prohibitively expensive.
    If R&D is so bad, why does Gilette spend so much on razor research? Why do they concentrate on long-lasting razors as a design feature rather than disposables? Because people _will_ pay for higher quality long-lasting razors. Disposables are certainly more convenient for contact lenses (no annoying cleaning), but people are used to washing clothes, so I don't think disposable pantyhose has distinct advantages.
    Women's Stockings - right (Score:1)
    by sengan-home on Wednesday January 20, @02:24PM
    (User Info) http://www.seqnet.net/~mediagx
    No they wouldn't. Subscription is better for companies than one buy. Hint: in the 1970s there were adverts for 20 Year garantees on a car... No longer.
    Foreign Government?
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 20, @01:05PM
    Gates as head a multinational corp with no loylalty to anything but himself, make him a "head of state" and Microsoft a "foreign" government (dictatorship varity) to every other country on the planet!
    Every country, the USA included, would do well to adopt the Open Source Standard for it's own national security, employment, etc...
    The French funded the American revolution
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 20, @11:23PM

    Any half-witted American historian knows that
    without French dollars the U.S. would have never
    won their indepedence in the 1780s.

    To a great extent the French government put itself
    into great debt by spending great amounts of
    money on the U.S. revolution. And the taxes
    that were implemented following the revolution
    partially resulted in France's own revolution.

    Washington's army was paid and supplied for
    extended periods of time by the French. The
    bumbling U.S. confederacy and states were
    pathetic in their fiscal support of the

    Vive la France! (Score:1)
    by euroderf (fred@moremagic.com) on Wednesday January 20, @03:38AM
    (User Info)
    If you think about it, all the same arguments apply to the film industry. The French want to keep their niche, and Hollywood asswipes like Jack Valenti want to steamroller 'em.
    maybe we should champion french rudeness (Score:1)
    by pedro (prschmitt@geocities.com) on Wednesday January 20, @12:59AM
    (User Info)
    Reading the above piece, it suddenly dawned on me why the french are rude. --- They're not.
    They're just indignant at cheeky furriners trying to tell them how to run their lives. My guess is that they appreciate the way day-to-day life FEELS, inconveniences and all, and like it. I know I'm looking for an OLD house right now, because half the fun of owning an old home is the smells, and the other half is the upkeep. You're in touch with reality ALL the time, and bullshit takes a back seat. Same reason I like wood heat, and stalking the wild tree, and cutting it down, and...
    Hmmm... sounds a lot like us *nix enthusiasts.
    The french've produced a lot of cool mathematicians, yaknow. Very abstract guys.
    Ok, now you can LART me.
    Just make it hurt for real.

    prschmitt at geocities dot com Nobody moves very much in a Hanna-Barbera cartoon - Zorak
    Cheers not Jeers (Score:1)
    by monk (wglover2) on Wednesday January 20, @01:20AM
    (User Info)

    I agree.

    I think it's amazing that a story like that would raise any negative response from a geek. If the French embrace Linux for security and economics as well as it's stability. What's the draw back? I don't get the Brit/Frog stuff. That would be like me hating my neighbors just because our great grandaddy's shot it out over the Alamo.

    Besides, both France and Britain put together would just almost make a decent sized ranch.

    Play nice y'all or we'll have to divide the world between Texas and Australia, and just keep you drunk and laughing until you surrender!

    Cheers not Jeers (Score:1)
    by orabidoo (see@my.webpage) on Wednesday January 20, @10:29AM
    (User Info) http://www.eleves.ens.fr:8080/home/espel/index.html
    naww... small countries are the way to go. Andorra is about the right size :-) Now free Catalonia and I'll be happy :)
    The French Are Assholes (Score:1)
    by The Mongolian Barbecue on Wednesday January 20, @01:44AM
    (User Info)
    The French are all assholes. We should either

    1) Nuke France back to primordial ooze.


    2) Invade france, tear up their mansions and shit, and build something useful, like a silicon processing plant.

    I would like to see those damn grey poupon eating bastards suffer.
    The French Are Assholes (Score:1)
    by Pudding & Pie on Wednesday January 20, @10:44AM
    (User Info)
    I suppose they do suffer reading your somewhat
    exagerated comments...But I think there has been
    a mistype and for some reason,the Smiley has

    Bus Overload (Score:1)
    by MadHat (madhat@cyberjunkie.com) on Wednesday January 20, @12:26AM
    (User Info)
    Ack! I like my info in little peices. They're easier to process this way.
    -- _____ | MAD | | | | HAT | ---------
    Is the presentation GPLed??? (Score:1)
    by Renaissance Man on Wednesday January 20, @02:34AM
    (User Info) http://www.slashdot.com
    I must say, Bernard Lang makes an excellent case. Well put. Well organized. He isn't a "Director" for nothing! :) I was wondering if the speech and the presentation was "GPLed"?? So that other countries/companies could use it in almost its entirity.

    BTW, did I mention I LOVE Babelfish?
    No Subject Given (Score:1)
    by orabidoo (see@my.webpage) on Wednesday January 20, @10:36AM
    (User Info) http://www.eleves.ens.fr:8080/home/espel/index.html
    damn, the site is slashdotted. I wonder if it runs on NoTechnology.
    I always wondered... (Score:1)
    by Axe (Axe@HATESPAM@Mindless.com) on Tuesday January 19, @11:52PM
    (User Info) http://
    ..how foreign goverments allow MS to supply products to key industries...
    ------------------------------ Chop'em
    Topic for a poll.... (Score:1)
    by Axe (Axe@HATESPAM@Mindless.com) on Tuesday January 19, @11:57PM
    (User Info) http://
    ... my native language is:


    ..did I double post?
    ------------------------------ Chop'em
    Nice Short and Simple (Score:1)
    by MJL on Wednesday January 20, @12:08AM
    (User Info)
    Okay, I'm writing this without my usual bold comments for the sake of speed...

    I find it comforting that many people are now finding that Linux, and similar free items are becoming dominant in the corporate world, and the international world.

    Most people know that Linux kicks the hell out of Windows. Doh. What I'd like to know is when we might be able to get Linux as a fesable workstation system, vs. the current Windows system.

    I'm hoping that the Corel Sidewinder LC systems will change this drastically, becuase they embody the ultimate in kick ass for Linux.

    Let us hope in the future, as the world becomes a free thing, and we evolve to the point of Star Trek (yeah right.)
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