Structuring french R&D activity on libre software in France, and recent governmental policy changes ?

The french minister of industry, Thierry breton has recently received an official report (for abstract in english, and full version in french) on innovation policy and intengible goods, which gives hints of a new understanding of the challenges of value created in new regimes of IP. Among them, libre software (aka open source) is clearly identified as one of the strategic elements towards which the innovation and R&D policy should be targetted.

That’s a very promising evolution of public policy, if it becomes implemented in concrete actions. But I’m a bit doubtful, personnaly that a complete and coherent policy change can just occur now : France is now in presidential pre-campaign state and I think nobody expects much serious action until a new president is elected in May ’07, sadly ;), but it’s still worth noticing.

Anyway, the minister made a declaration which, among other elements, mentions his interest in seeing a coming “pole de comptitivit” on libre software, which means the establishment of a consortium of industrials and academics clustering on a focus point, in the jargon of the french R&D support agency.

And indeed, a lot of actors actively promoting libre software in France have been working for several month in initiatives targeting the creation of such a cluster. It seems one of the such initiatives managed to attract the biggest momentum, and is now responding officially to the expectations of the minister (see press coverage in english here).

I wish this initiative a good success, hoping that it will, among other european initiatives like Morfeo in Spain, be a new way to help promote actors engaged in R&D around libre software.

Update 2006/12/18 : the project now has a name (“Ouverture”) and a website : http://www.ouverture-paris-region.org/.

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