First, Google Docs is out of window either way. Then a specific budget needs to be approved to use Office, which will reduce its use to only people actually needing it (just reading docs produced elsewhere won't be enough)
(103 billions EUR for education in 2020 by the central government only, 67 for Defence, and surprisingly little resources about how much social security actually costs, on an extensive scale)
(local governments allocate more resources, mostly for the maintenance or buildings and supplies)
Teachers have had free licenses for MS Office since forever, even for personal computers)
Computers can be pretty new in most schools.
But network and host administration is more than patchy in most schools, due to a lack of qualified and dedicated employees, so they're ok with purchasing SW that works out of the box.
(We used to maintain the school computers with a small group of students when we were in HS)
Actually, free software advocates have been complaining by the price of MS products, compared to the subventions to make free software.
And anyway, MS Office is the only software consistently used in ANY branch of government. It's a staple.
Some Defence ppl have even been complaining that you might not want to run NSA-approved American SW for everything, especially as it often came on Chinese Lenovo HW.
(While top government officials reminded that the USA is friendly, and that you can't go to the extent of making chips out of the sand from Brittany, a region with cold beaches in the west of France)
So the budget and the usage for Office already exist, for everyone
> education is the second most funded government feature in France after healthcare/social security
Both of which are under heavy pressure to reduce costs, which also leads to the waves of strikes (I know, France, strikes, name a more iconic duo. But their conditions are actually super shitty). They don't have enough money to cover salary raises among the inflation, that money going to US monopolies doesn't look go under any light you put it.
> Teachers have had free licenses for MS Office since forever
Local licenses might stay, 365 ones are going away (here the free tier is targeted, and Education minister targeted Microsoft in particular to freeze new licenses)
> Actually, free software advocates have been complaining by the price of MS products, compared to the subventions to make free software.
These decisions are actually not bound to bring fully free software in the mix. Proprietary solutions seem to be eyed at (those could be based on free software of course, but money will be exchanged at the end of the day)
My general take is that up until now "nobody is fired for choosing MS" was the basic principle, but that doesn't mean it stays that way forever. Switch to linux was a step in that direction already, and they committed to it up to a point. Stopping Office 365 propagation goes in that same direction.
Which FOSS alternatives provide similar functionality to Offices 365/Docs, and don't cost somewhere around ~$10/seat in IT time to set up and administer?
A git repository and an installation of LibreOffice don't meet that bar. Collaborative editing, good-enough default access control and security, and document sharing that doesn't consist of emailing "March Report_Version_6 (Copy 2)--actually final--.doc" around.
2. You don't need computers at all until uni, and yet...
And generally speaking, the alternative to this stuff in schools isn't FOSS, it's proprietary shit that costs $XY(Z)/seat and steals student data for use in its anti-plagiarism feature.
The court's ruling is fine and reasonable, but the conclusions people are drawing from it are not.
So computers are pretty much a necessity yes.
Why? They can still use it, but under the non-free version which is under the necessary compliance.
I've heard of Microsoft education deals that involved paying 500 to 5000. With your choice of a macbook for every 500, or a lenovo laptop for every 200 paid.
You have great faith in bureaucracy. The reality is anybody who was using a free version before will probably be given a paid version afterwards, and if not then the cost of administration and the creation of new fiefdoms around this process would be a net burden on efficiency anyway.
In 2019, MSFT claimed re: Teams that it was keeping all data in country.
In 2021, Office365 was banned from all ministries.
To the unavoidable question of “what to use then?”, I think the answers are “tough luck” and “the gov has a new service for that”. It’s set a case where GDPR has priority over costs and efficiency.
> S'agissant de l'emploi de la solution Microsoft Office 365, le ministère de l'éducation nationale et de la jeunesse a informé en octobre 2021 les recteurs de région académique et d'académie de la doctrine « cloud au centre » (circulaire du Premier ministre précitée), de la position de la Dinum (note du 15 septembre 2021 précitée) et de l'avis de la CNIL sur ce sujet. Le ministère a ainsi demandé d'arrêter tout déploiement ou extension de cette solution ainsi que celle de Google, qui seraient contraires au RGPD.
Aside, both LibreOffice and Apple's office suite are perfectly serviceable for K12 education and most public administration.
Until MS stops offering that and you're SOL, subscription model only going forward.
It showed up in my Microsoft account alongside previous purchases which were at full price.
I haven't had an MSDN account for several years, so I can't compare with that.
(Also, love that iOS parsed that “365 2023” as a phone number)
“Collabora Online. Your Private Office Suite In The Cloud”
From what I understand, Collabora is LibreOffice in your browser, with cloud functionality
It's the most complete European office product I've seen so far.
It's an underdog but pretty good. If you want to use something in the cloud which respects privacy more. Does not even need an email for registering and there is a premium plan too.
But I think the more practical solution is LibreOffice/OpenOffice. I think it's encouraged (or even enforced?) to use that office suites for public service/government institutions in France.
Of these alternatives, I'm using Onlyoffice for some years now, specifically their Personal tier, which is free of charge. I think it works well, and it's also clear that they are constantly working on it.
Lemonldap (SSO solution) for example.
I think this is a rather naive perspective. I’ve worked in national security jobs, and the idea that services from foreign companies should not be allowed is a completely infeasible dream.
Word was fine. Excel, you felt it was more clunky and lost productivity. Never used the other formats.
Was good enough if you didn't want to pay and were using these infrequently.
The alternative isn't just LibreOffice, it's LibreOffice + Postfix + ejabberd + Samba + Apache + Radicale, which you all have to put on a server somewhere and set up individually.
I mean, even at uni i worked locally.
I balked at it for several years but honestly today it is good enough for music streaming, file sharing, collaborative document editing, photo management, contact management, calendar sharing, issue management, appointment management, etc.
Also passwordless fido2 login.
Why? Because you can’t upgrade between major versions. If you do, part of the software is upgraded and the rest is not. Now you can’t go back either, because the persistent config directory has been modified in the process. There are countless posts in forums about failed upgrades (including this).
I have tried bare metal and docker, and the upgrades have failed once in a while. I am not sure if the snap version is any better.
Democracies require more decisions from citizens than dictatorships but freedom is worth a bit of thinking once in a while.
It's like saying a house is unusable shite because the sink has dirty dishes in it.
Collaborative, concurrent document editing is a must-have feature, especially now with so much remote work.
So it’s not just dirty dishes. A more apt metaphor would be a house where 10% of the time when two people enter a room together, they both lose their phones in the room, can never find them, and have to get new phones. I mean, I guess you could decide that outcome is better than a house in which 0.0001% of the time, the US government looks at the contents of the phone, but I don’t see why you would.
bonus try agains:
And they have an obligation not to waste taxes on rent.
And they have an obligation to transparency even if currently all fail to meet.
(Asking, I actually don't know)
All that's ever been missing is for a few politicians to have the vision or fortitude to ignore MS/Apple/Google sales pitches and then stick with it through the inevitable difficult transition period and complaints and address them by addressing them rather than by just going back to the familiar comfortable bad deal.
It can be both; as surveillance capitalism becomes even more and more pervasively intrusive we can see the risks against both individuals and institutions. There's also plenty of history of major governments (including the US and French) using their intelligence services to help in commercial endeavours.
But the war in Ukraine has also demonstrated how quickly the US can cripple an economy.
They are special exceptions to the normal process of law that favour particular actors. Rule of law means that the processes of law must be consistent and public, and fair to all sides; people need to be able to tell their stories publicly in order to be able to find relevant witnesses, for example.
The cloud has it's place but I've never been happy with the underhanded way that Office 365 "encourages" users to save to the cloud. When someone pays for one service, and is continuously pushed to use another (with additional downstream costs), I wonder isn't it time to pursue antitrust?
What they're concerned about is not having their businesses operate at the whims of and be open to disruption by Americans.
I work at a company that has a French government service as a customer. They are super sensitive to their data transiting across US servers but have zero concerns about transit through the rest of Europe...including Europe's "fourteen eyes" nations.
(Especially given that the other two contenders are the US and China)
This is pretty widely known. Especially in the Defense industry and their world class industrial espionage skill goes all the way back to the eighteenth century.
It's not "citation needed", you're just ignorant of history.
It's not much of a base.
France has partically cornered the market on datacenter infrastructure (everything from the racks down...somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 is made by French companies).
If you think 300+ years of strategy/tradecraft suddenly ceased functioning 40 years ago (and because why?) you'd be sorely mistaken.
It's more likely the case that manned airframe deveopment has been fairly stagnant around the world since the 80s for political/budget reasions (which is true), so you haven't been able to see their blatant wins. France has seemed to keep up with the rest of world in UAV development (Parrot) despite much less investment....
First, everyone is way behind DJI, that's just a fact. You can buy a DJI drone, open it, inspect it, and still not be able to do a perfect alternative at the same price.
Second, some UAV autopilots were written by a couple engineers more than a decade ago, and today there are pretty advanced open source autopilots, with open source protocols and open source apps to control them.
I don't know about your other claims, but given the UAV one, I must now doubt them.
Let's take your example, Parrot, it's not because a company can do as good with less than it means it is stolen technology.
Has the world over stolen the screw tech in the US technology tree because I can buy it at the hardware store for a cent when one is billed $40 to the US army?
That's a wild line of reasoning.
Those bits are well documented and you can go read about them with a cursory google search.
But no, my reasoning is WiLd AnD cRaZy.
I would say that given France's history, you would have to show me that Parrot _hasn't_ benefited from some level of industrial espionage.
The French government as we know it did not exist 300 years ago, neither did the modern industrial age.
I don't think you could find a better citation.
Especially since, again, the Snowden leaks exposed that the NSA was a pretty strong contender for the title.
It was almost an open secret that French Intelligence bugged and monitored first class (and elsewhere) of the TransAtlantic Concorde flights between Europe and the US (and elsewhere).
This was, for many years, the prestige fastest travel between the major powers and a honeypot of loose lips by diplomats, politicians, and even senor military staff from many nations.
Now, it's a standard practice in security to not discuss security issues and confidential info in a public space like a plane. I'd not be surprised the French goverment would bug the Concorde, but it does not imply at all the supposed extent, ruthlessness and far-reach that the OG poster implies.
Well perhaps a better understanding of Cold War politics might peel back the cover on how ruthless the French can be.
It's a fact that the bulk of the Cold War weapons grade ore was sourced from parts of Africa that were former | current French | Belgian colonies and satelite states, it's well recorded the ongoing destabilisation of local democratic Governments that kept effective control of mineral operations in the hands of principally French companies acting as US proxies in an extensive (at the time) unreported war of resource domination and control.
What the French did in New Zealand, planting bombs and killing civilian anti nuclear demonstrators  pales in comparison to their actions in Africa and elsewhere.
> The sinking of Rainbow Warrior, codenamed Opération Satanique, was a state-sponsored terrorist bombing by the "action" branch of the French foreign intelligence services, the Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure (DGSE), carried out on 10 July 1985.
There are clear evidence that French neocolonialism has had terrible impacts on Sub-Saharan Africa for instance and beyond (The Ivory Coast crisis is a more recent example than the ones you chose). However, they barely indicate anything about an ability to conduct industrial espionnage in, say, the USA. At best, it is adjacent.
Bombing the Rainbow Warrior says nothing about the French government's industrial spying capacity as well. It shows how shody the DGSE was in fact.
They bombed the ship in a harbor, in a way that was intended to let everyone evacuate the ship. The photographer died because he came back to the hull to get his belongings when the second bomb exploded. (Which isn't to say it was an accident. The agents did plant those bombs, and the bombs did kill someone in a way they could have anticipated, even if it wasn't their goal.)
It's a radical action to take for an intelligence service, and it's a deadly crime committed on the sovereign territory of an allied country, but I don't think it's fair to assess that it demonstrates "ruthlessness of the French Government". It's certainly pretty mild by the standards of international espionage.
And it seems like very weak evidence if used to argue that France has uniquely aggressive secret services. I don't want to do whataboutism to excuse the DGSE's actions, but if the argument is that the DGSE is less bound by ethics than, say, the CIA, then I do have to point out that the CIA has done a lot worse than bombing a boat, a lot more recently.
I wish my country was as good at spying and could steal the TGV designs ;)
When you're the 20th most populated country, yes, arguably.
> The U.S. National Security Agency is involved in industrial espionage and will grab any intelligence it can get its hands on regardless of its value to national security, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden told a German TV network.
> In text released ahead of a lengthy interview to be broadcast on Sunday, ARD TV quoted Snowden saying the NSA does not limit its espionage to issues of national security and he cited German engineering firm, Siemens as one target.
> "If there's information at Siemens that's beneficial to U.S. national interests - even if it doesn't have anything to do with national security - then they'll take that information nevertheless," Snowden said, according to ARD, which recorded the interview in Russia where he has claimed asylum.
Which, like... of course.
Politics follow incentives. If you build an espionage apparatus that lets you spy on conversations worldwide, and you have laws that lets you read private data without a warrant and send a gag order to the company that owns the server, and you have laws specifically for doing the above to data stored in europe by american companies, and your only mechanisms for accountability are to the White House, not the public or foreign countries, and you can get your boss re-eletected by helping american companies create jobs at the expense of foreign companies... Why would you ever abstain from industrial espionage?
The US IC being a horrible monster may well fit your world view. But we must not allow ourselves to confuse what we think should be easy to prove with what we actually can prove. And I don’t even mean “prove” in some strict, legal sense. I just mean prove in the sense of providing evidence with the same ease that you provide speculation. If you could point to cases of US industrial espionage in Snowden’s leaks, that would be a good start.
1 - https://theintercept.com/2014/09/05/us-governments-plans-use...
The US controls the global economy, every transactions made in $ are sniffed and tracked, they know about your trade secrets
And if you dare escape from their watchdog, they'll let you know illico presto 
(this is also why i believe that cryptocurrencies fad is a FED project, and Satoshi is one of their codename)
One of my biggest regret is not saving the article i read on that matter that went into the details on why, including how they leverage their army of lawyers to make sure you comply, or it was a book, it's sad that i forgot.., read a little bit about Alstom, it's very shady
It's also part of the reason why they are scared about BRICs moving away from the dollar and adopting the YUAN and its digital version
 - https://www.theguardian.com/business/2003/feb/16/iraq.theeur...
Some documentation on the matter:
Your comment seems like a general distrust of the US intel collection based on a mist of evidence and conspiracy theory.
i don't think there is much to argue here, let's move on
What does it do?
I use it on my Mac and nearly all my documents are just local, except for a few I've specifically saved to the could so I can easily access them from other devices.
When I make a new document and save it, it defaults to the save it locally dialog. I don't notice any encouragement, let alone underhanded encouragement, to save to the cloud.
It is possible that when I first installed it the default was to give the save online dialog when saving a new document instead of the save local dialog, but it seems to remember which one you last used and give that as the default the next time.
Have I missed some other encouragement to use the cloud?
I've also had several scratch documents appear in a cloud drive at some point, probably through autosaves. Disabling cloud integrations tends to generate nag screens or "helpful" warning toolbars to "restore functionality". Going offline in Office on Windows is a path riddled with deceptive design. This is the education version of Office on Windows 11, though I haven't used or updated it in a while; not that I think Microsoft's data collection team has suddenly had a change of heart.
Non-enterprise versions of the product don't seem to be available without signing in to a Microsoft account at all. You can log yourself out out after activation, but realistically very few people know about that and even then you've already given Windows a hint of a Microsoft account, which it will use to try to sign you into every chance it gets.
https://www.w3.org/Amaya/ (Started in -1996- "in conjunction with W3C")
Can't find where I read this, but in context of [packet switching] and the French variant, it was claimed Valéry Giscard d'Estaing put an end to the French variant, due to US pressure. (I think it was the Louis Pouzin interview in Oral History.)
France should be kicking ass in software & computing. The mystery is why it isn't competing with Google, Facebook, etc.
An Interview with Louis Pouzin, conducted by Andrew L. Russell, Paris, France, 2012
---- source: https://conservancy.umn.edu/bitstream/handle/11299/155666/oh... [pp 17-18] ----
But on the other hand, the French délégation à l’informatique were powerful. Fortunately for them, President Pompidou died. And then we had a new president called Giscard d’Estaing. And Giscard d’Estaing was not in the same mentality; Pompidou was still a follower of De Gaulle’s policy. De Gaulle’s policy
was to be independent from the American. And CII in building a network was in a way a continuation of the same policy – become independent. But Giscard absolutely had no technology vision. He was interested in politics, but not in technical things. He had advisors who had no technical training. They were people from Ecole nationale d’administration, and people who make rectangles, and put arrows between rectangles, and they think it’s going to work. <laughter> So they dissolved the délégation à l’informatique. Finished. Disbanded. <laughter> And as a result, our funding was cut.
And they also joined together CII and Honeywell-Bull and made CII-Honeywell-Bull, a new company. And this new company which had not much experience in networking, they said they would take our technology and develop it in their own system. The guy who was at that time heading Bull was an engineer. He had been at IBM before, and he was a guy who understood very well strategy and technology. So I think he was pretty convinced that it was a good deal to get what we had developed. But he had been put in place by the technical group, which was also a partner in CII, and this group was Thomson. Thomson was typically a company that was making electro-mechanical devices, but also working for the army, for the military, for the aerospace and so on.
And here you had CG, which was a huge group – all kinds of electrical things – and téléphonie. CG had apparently put a lot of money into supporting Giscard’s election everywhere. You know, the lobbyists finance the elections. And why did they finance the elections? It’s because they didn’t like the government policy with Thomson, because Thomson had decided to go into téléphonie. And that was extremely displeasing for General Electric, for CG, because they were not the monopoly but the dominant provider in France. There were other ones, but they were the big one. And to them, introducing another competitor in téléphonie was not very attractive.
In addition to that, the délégation à l’informatique had put up an industrial group called Unidata. And Unidata was CII, Siemens, Plessey in the U.K., Olivetti in Italy, and Phillips in the Netherlands.
So this Unidata group had a strategy to develop a product series by sharing engineering, sharing development, and having each one a particular specialty. And they had decided, for example, that Siemens... Siemens also was in computing, but they were not very dominant. And so they had decided that Siemens would close down the computing subsidiary they had in France. And on the other hand, the French would close their computing subsidiary in Germany. So each one would have its own clean territory. And that means that for Compagnie générale d’electricité in France that Siemens was becoming a partner of a big French company and, therefore, it certainly would be detrimental to their market for the téléphonie. The delegate from the informatique told me that. They wanted to scatter Thomson’s enterprises in téléphonie, and financing Giscard was probably a way to push them to that direction. And once Giscard was elected, so they disbanded Unidata.
Siemens was furious about that because it was really treason for them. <laughter>
-- end --
My opinion: The have the intellectual, philosophical, technical, industrial, academic, and human resources for it. But apparently they lack political will to make it happen as a matter of national policy (like US and SV-MIC matrix), and of course the past 2 decades there has been something of a brain drain as well.
edit: okay then, Wordpad!
If you do not trust a third party to store your data, then you cannot trust any of their proprietary binaries to access your data either.
I mean... Windows is also owned by Microsoft, so they should ban all use of Windows. And also ban any binary distribution of software of any kind (yup, all school teachers will build their Linux from source now). Oh wait, a third party is making the firmware in your CPUs, better build those from scratch too... go get your pickaxe - you're going mining.
If the French Government has a goal of digital sovereignty and defending against entities like the NSA taking their data, then this is what it takes to meet that threat model.
A state actor could certainly compromise a Microsoft binary signing key with or without the cooperation of Microsoft.
Whoever controls the key that signs the binaries that touch your data, controls your data.
Using reproducible builds of open/audited software and firmware is a great start to make third party exfiltration of data more expensive. Next would be removing known backdoors like Intel ME until a migration can be made to open/audited hardware as well.
The path France is on is an expensive one to be sure, but if they stop at only ceasing use of offshore cloud services they are kidding themselves.
There's a few mentions online about companies that have gone out of business or fined like crazy - whether they're warranted or not isn't the question. There's an article on tech crunch about Fidzup that shares a nice extreme case. I don't think 1 nations DPA should be able to unilaterally make decisions for entire platforms or the planet. Moreover, they're absolutely terrible to work with.
For Fidzup there was no monetary sanction. Investor have just walk away when they learned there was an inquiry.
All sanction are published : https://www.cnil.fr/fr/thematique/cnil/sanctions
I don't find anything crazy.
Seriously though, what are they supposed to use now?
This entire problem could've been solved years ago when the GDPR grace period started; then when Safe Harbor blew up as expected by just about everyone, they had another chance to start working on a fix. Then the fix should've had priority since Privacy Shield was invalidated, because they have been in violation of the law since.
I'm sure institutions will cry foul and beg the government not to fine them because they could've never seen it coming, because the solution to privacy laws always seems to be "ignore the law and pretend you'll never get caught".
Sounds like there are multiple angles to this. Privacy. Monopoly. National security. So it’s not just about it being free.
It doesn't matter that it's incomplete. They can still use Office without 365, etc. It's not a real principled fundamental policy about all public/government code and documents and data and formats etc.
It doesn't matter what the real reason is. Even for example the cynical idea that it's just to force favoring some other private entity.
It's good even purely for the optics that it's even possible, for any reason at all. As it is it does do a lot of direct good already, but even if it did nothing more than make the concept of "we don't need to use office365 or google" less crazy sounding the next time someone tries to take a government open source and open data and open data formats, or even merely reject the servicication of things that don't actually require it, that is already a good thing all by itself.
And the fact that it pushes back against the indoctrination of kids to accept that as just a universal fact of life is just that much better.
France might also be the country that “bans the most”. Privacy is probably used as a tool in business.
Asia/Africa follow along and encourage local or free, non-profit open source alternatives
Unless you’re known to have data that’s particularly interesting, your risk is nothing like what they face…
The cloud isn't the problem, the active data collection that cloud companies do on your unencrypted data is.
So a) this is not a surprising direction at all and b) this sets up a nice little pre-fertilized, fully-walled-off plot for a French omnibus tech company to explode into.