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European Digital Sovereignty: Perspectives from the French Open Source sector

European Digital Sovereignty: Perspectives from the French Open Source sector

Stefane Fermigier

May 11, 2021

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  1. How is Digital Sovereignty viewed in France by… ? The

    Military, the Government, the OSS business ecosystem
  2. … the French Military • "Digital sovereignty" was defined by

    the General Secretariat for Defense and National Security (SGDSN) in the 2018 Strategic Cyber Defense Review (p. 93): a strategic autonomy in which, without seeking to do everything internally, it is a matter of "preserving an autonomous capacity for assessment, decision and action" in the digital space. • The SGDSN states, "an industrial strategy based on open source, provided that it is part of a thoughtful commercial approach, can enable French or European manufacturers to gain market share where they are absent today and thereby enable France and the European Union to regain sovereignty. "
  3. … the French Government • From the Circulaire Ayrault (2012):

    • “[…] it is now possible to retain a series of guidelines and recommendations on the proper use of free software. These demonstrated in particular the advantages of free software (lower cost, flexibility of use, negotiation leverage with software vendors).” • To the Loi Lemaire (2016): • “[Public administrations] take care to preserve the control, the durability and the independence of their information systems. They encourage the use of free software and open formats […]” Tactical considerations Strategic considerations
  4. … the French open source entrepreneurs Based on a survey

    of 134 business leaders in the French open source sector: • 93.1% of industry leaders believe that digital sovereignty should be a priority for the economic and democratic future of France and Europe. • But only 29.3% of respondents believe that France is implementing an open source industrial strategy to regain digital sovereignty. • 88.3% of respondents believe that the key principles of open source can help preserve the digital sovereignty of France and Europe
  5. What needs to be done The development of an open

    source European industry, and regulations that encourage the purchase of French and European products and services, particularly from SMEs (“Small Business Act”), are priority levers for regaining sovereignty: Promote local purchasing of French and European open source solutions through regulatory tools Support the development of strong European open source companies offering alternative to the hyperscalers Reserve a part of the public order for European SMEs in the free digital sector (Small Business Act) Train more French and European talents in free and open source digital technologies
  6. Gaia-X - Vision • Gaia-X’s values are aligned with values

    that we share both as Europeans and members of the open source community • But we do not recognise ourselves in the original vision of Altmaier ("The Airbus of the Cloud” = too centralised) nor in that of CIGREF (excessively focussed on legal issues and governance) • To thrive, the European cloud must be: • decentralised, • comprised on possibly independent services that are interoperable thanks to open standards and open source, • based in large part on existing European technologies
  7. Gaia-X - Communication • We regret that the red carpet

    was rolled out from the beginning to American and Chinese hyperscalers • It should be first and foremost about promoting European cloud technologies and companies • We are surprised by the lack of communication and public discussion on the technological aspects of the project (at least in France) • Openness and transparency should be at the heart of the project • We believe that the sub-project, which is currently underway, of creating a rich directory of European cloud services is a good first step