Consensus at the French National Assembly

Posted in Mandriva, English at 12:16 pm by François Bancilhon

The French “Assemblée Nationale” (the lower house of the French parliament) recently announced its intention to move to open source.

It started with some initial political annoucements. I am allways slightly suspicious of these. The beauty of open source for our political leaders is that you can make bold announcements without spending a penny. I won’t be nasty and won’t give any example.

Anyway in this case, they actually delivered: they are doing something serious, have a budget assigned to it and published an official call for proposals. The information is public and the actual call can be found here.
In this case they actually did a pretty good job. They did a proper analysis. They based their call on previous studies that had been done in the administration. They understand that there need to be a customization phase to actually design a desktop adapted to the needs of the user population, they understand they need tools to administer this and manage evolution over time and support.

They took risks and I am sure they had lots of pressure, but they went ahead and did a professional job.

It is not a very large deal: 1,000 desktop and the maximum budget allowed for a deal under such a process is about 130K€, which is not huge for the whole deployment, maintenance, support and administration. But it is a good show case and can be used as an example for the Administration and for other deployments.
In a forum where I am not exactly popular, there are regular questions on whether we answered that bid.

Of course, we answered: it’s the archetype of the deal we want to make. We followed the process, we found partners, we worked very hard and we submitted some very thourough answers. This meant a lot of work for us. Will we win? at this stage the decision is in the hands of the technical services of the assembly, I can only hope we will be rewarded for our hard work and for the quality of our answer.
I believe we have everything needed to provide a solid answer: we have a great distro, focused on the desktop, we provide professional support and we have a tool for deployment and administration, Pulse, which is 100% GPL. We also have the right partners answering with us.
Let us hope they will be more calls like this, let us hope other government agencies will understand that they need the help of enterprises to do this.

1 Comment »

  1. thorvick said,

    February 9, 2007 at 6:38 pm

    When you hope, it’s too late…

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