French Prime Minister encourages greater use of open formats
The office of the Prime Minister of France, François Fillon, has announced that he has issued a circular to all members of the French government encouraging the use of free and open formats as part of new government platform data.gouv.fr. The portal is part of a wider programme opening up public data to create a more transparent state and is intended to be the single public platform for the dissemination and reuse of public data.
The circular says that all government departments should identify and make available as wide a set of data as possible, and disseminate that data through the new portal. Also, they should use free and open formats in order to encourage the reuse of public data. A report by April, the French organisation advocating the use of free software and open standards, said that it is delighted with the guidance. It pointed out that the use of free software is one way to allow the proper use of free and open formats; the inference is made presumably because the original circular – not currently publicly available – does not explicitly mention the use of open source software.
The government announcement makes the point that there are also economic gains to be made from a more transparent approach to government data, noting that the opening of public data helps to develop the digital economy and to support innovation, growth and employment. It adds that web entrepreneurs and researchers will be encouraged to develop new uses for public data.