Paris Open Source Summit

The free software market



Every year, the CNLL carries out a study that aims to highlight the economic importance of the sector, its impact on the economy as a whole, and on employment and innovation in particular. The results of this study are presented in the opening keynote of the Paris Open Source Summit. Discover the key figures, the 2017 trends and the prospects for 2022 !



     ·         Key figures for the entire market and its growth

Growth in turnover France: 2016 -> 2017: +8%

2017 total turnover France: €4.5 billion (€4.1 billion of which in services and €378 million in software edition). This figure also represents 10% of the total IT market in France.

: 45,000 full-time equivalents in 2017.

Annual growth of 8.1%
is expected, according to PAC-CXP forecasts, by 2021 for the entire sector (+12.6% for edition and +7.8% for services), which is about twice the growth forecasts for the entire digital sector (+4.2%).




United Kingdom and Germany, both in terms of absolute value (France: €4.5 billion compared to €4.2 for the UK and €4.0 billion for Germany), and in terms of the share of open source in the total IT market (9.9% FR, 6.5% UK, 6.4% DE). This position is not expected to change by 2021.



  ·         The Open Source adoption rate and its impact on innovation


Open source and free software are adopted by companies (providers our users) mainly in order to re-internalise and control their information systems, pool and streamline their software investments and, finally, accelerate their strategic innovation programmes.

The impact of open source on the transformation of companies and public services is also linked to technological progress in a certain number of key sectors: Big Data, open API, social business, blockchain, cloud services, IT agility, artificial intelligence, etc.


One of the main specific features of companies in the sector is that they often develop on the basis of a “win-win” logic and participate actively in the development of their ecosystems.




  • Advantages & reasons for adopting open source programs linked to innovative platform:  

o    According to 82% of respondents: pooling and reducing development costs

o    82%: diversification & independence of technological platforms

o    70%: it is a strategic accelerator


  • The technologies in which open source will create the most value by  2020 (only 1 choice possible by the respondents):

o    16.5%: Data processing (big data, analytics)

o    13.2%: Development tools


o    12.6%: business applications



  ·         Key figures concerning recruitment

The sector’s growth prospects point at a net recruitment need of 4,000 people/year by 2021, in order to reach 56,500 full-time equivalents by 2021.


The Open source sector is a creator of qualified jobs (more than 63% at Masters’ equivalent level) and privileges local jobs, even very local jobs with very little sub-contracting and offshore requirements. It is very much a service economy and “made in France” software.

The sector’s growth should be accompanied by an effort in training. Indeed, for 44% of the respondents the main obstacle to the development of open software in France is the lack of technical and legal competences.  



The most sought-after positions continue to be developer profiles, ahead of project managers and system administrators. Demand for data scientist (data processing specialists) profiles and digital profiles are starting to emerge.




  ·         Open Source beyond the economic challenges


Companies from the sector – especially pure players – mostly share the values of transparency, openness and collaboration on which the free software and open source movement was founded.


They are particularly at the forefront – both in terms of vigilance and solutions – on the following subjects :

  • The digital sovereignty of France and Europe
  • The neutrality of the Net, interoperability
  • The transparency of algorithms
  • The fight against sexism, support for digital inclusion
  • The refusal of patents on software and business methods