Free Software Publisher Spotlight

Nexedi is part of the initial selection of European Free Software Publishers presenting at the Spotlight on Free Software Publishers event hosted by Cap Digital, the Libre Endowment Fund and the National Council of Libre Software.
  • Last Update:2019-12-26
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Free Software Publisher Spotlight

"Free Software Publisher Spotlight" is a series of events organised in collaboration with the Libre Endowment Fund, the CNLL and in partnership with Cap Digital. It aims to raise awareness for European Free Software Publishers, their core competencies, their contribution to software technology and existing means to fund R&D of Free Software through available tax cuts and incentives.

The inaugural event will take place on Tuesday, November 12th, 2019 between 18:00-21:00 in the auditorium of Cap Digital in Paris (map). 

Each event introduces successes of five software publishers in order to underline their expertise in specific technological fields, their R&D investments or their ability to successfully deliver mission-critical applications for industry, government and academia.

Free Software Publishers

A significant share - if not the majority - of Free Software is driven and developed within organised entities with paid employee: Free Software Publishers.

Free Software Publishers can take different structures: corporation, foundation, etc. They share common characteristics: owning source code, defining software roadmap, taking legal responsibility and funding research & development. Free Software Publishers are often small entities driven by a small group of software authors, with or without the assistance of a community of punctual contributors. According to Brian Prentice (Gartner), communities are often non-existent in the case of enterprise applications, making the publisher indispensable to ensure long term sustainability.

Most Free Software Publishers in the world are self-financed organisations located in Europe. Their technology portfolio is much wider than Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft (GAFAM). However, due to their philosophy of publishing free and transparent solutions geneally taking precedence over marketing and asset monetization, European Free Software Publishers remain largely unknown to decision-makers who are only aware of startups funded by venture capital with questionable profitability.

Agenda (tentative)

  • 18h00 - Welcome
  • 18h30 - Free Software Publishing - a European core competency and differentiation criteria
  • 18h40 - Sucess Case 1: MariaDB Foundation, Finland (Kaj Arnö, CEO)
    • MariaDB, the high performance database of Wikipedia and
  • 18h50 - Sucess Case 2: Abilian, France (Stéfane Fermigier, CEO)
    • Lab&Co the solution for recruitment management, collaborative research and valorisation at Sorbonne University
  • 19h00 - Sucess Case 3: Nexedi, France (Jean-Paul Smets, CEO)
    • SlapOS enabling automation of a sovereign cloud (Rapid.Space) and an infrastructure of AI (Teralab)
  • 19h10 - Sucess Case 4: Signal18, France (Stéphane Varoqui, CEO)
    • Replication Manager for scaling MariaDB at Mixer, France Television and Le Figaro
  • 19h20 - Sucess Case 5: Entr'ouvert, France (Laurent Séguin, Member)
    • Publik processing of administrative forms at the Ministry of Culture
  • 19h30 - Funding of Free Software R&D through tax reductions or incentives available to enterprises
  • 19h45 - Apéro Networking


Entrance to the event is free of charge. Registration is mandatory (tickets can be requested here

Enterprise Free Software Directory

A directory of Free Software Publishers and commercial success cases is updated and maintained after each event. More than 100 Free Software Publishers and 500 success cases are already listed by Libre Endowment Fund.

A Networking Opportunity

The series also tries to bring together leading Free Software Publishers with industry and public administration decision makers. It aims to present a platform for exchange and growing a network based on participants' respective capacities and technical interests facilitating cooperation and potential future projects that include initiatives for joint national and European R&D projects under the aegis of Cap Digital or feature-based evolution and maintenance of specific Free software solutions through the Libre Endowment Fund (FDL). 


Speakers who represent Free Software Publishers are welcome to propose talks about success cases. Conditions to present a talk are:

  • represent an organisation which owns the trademark of a Free Software or at least 20% of its source code;
  • provide a one line command to install a copy of the software;
  • publish a success case involving that Free Software.

For further information, please reach out to:  contact (at)


  • Photo Sven Franck
  • Logo Nexedi
  • Sven Franck
  • sven (dot) franck (at) nexedi (dot) com
  • Photo Jean-Paul Smets
  • Logo Nexedi
  • Jean-Paul Smets
  • jp (at) nexedi (dot) com
  • Jean-Paul Smets is the founder and CEO of Nexedi. After graduating in mathematics and computer science at ENS (Paris), he started his career as a civil servant at the French Ministry of Economy. He then left government to start a small company called “Nexedi” where he developed his first Free Software, an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) designed to manage the production of swimsuits in the not-so-warm but friendly north of France. ERP5 was born. In parallel, he led with Hartmut Pilch (FFII) the successful campaign to protect software innovation against the dangers of software patents. The campaign eventually succeeeded by rallying more than 100.000 supporters and thousands of CEOs of European software companies (both open source and proprietary). The Proposed directive on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions was rejected on 6 July 2005 by the European Parliament by an overwhelming majority of 648 to 14 votes, showing how small companies can together in Europe defeat the powerful lobbying of large corporations. Since then, he has helped Nexedi to grow either organically or by investing in new ventures led by bright entrepreneurs.