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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. Stéfane Fermigier
    Co-Président du CNLL
    European Digital Sovereignty:
    Perspectives from the French Open Source sector

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  2. How is Digital Sovereignty viewed in France by… ?
    The Military, the Government, the OSS business ecosystem

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  3. … 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. "

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  4. … 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

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  5. … 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

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  6. 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

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  7. Gaia-X - the view from the French OSS ecosystem
    Pros and cons

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  8. 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

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  9. 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

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