Open Source in the EU

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OSS in the EU

The EU government is heavily involved at many levels in Open Source Software and Open Standards. The EU has progressed beyond recommending that governments use OSS, through providing frameworks to help them do it to developing a policy for OSS use internally. The EU itself is a flagship case study for assessment, deployment and promotion of better government informatics through the use of Open Source, see the heading "Open Source Software" under the Procurement section at http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/informatics/ .

OSS in EU Commission ICT

As can be seen at http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/informatics/, the EU's internal OSS strategy goals for 2011-2013 are as follows:

  1. The Commission will continue to adopt formally (through the Product Management procedure) the use of OSS technologies and products where a clear benefit can be expected.
  2. The Commission will consider OSS solutions alongside proprietary ones in IT procurements. Contracts will be awarded on a "value for money" basis.
  3. For all future IT developments, the Commission shall promote the use of products that support recognised, well-documented standards. Interoperability is a critical issue for the Commission, and usage of well-established standards is a key factor to achieve it.
  4. For the development of new information systems, where deployment is foreseen by parties outside of the EC infrastructure, OSS will be the preferred choice and in any case used whenever possible.
  5. The Commission will clarify the legal context around the internal use of OSS. Main topics to be addressed are: licensing schemes, Intellectual Property Rights, equal opportunities in the context of procurement and participation in OSS communities.
  6. Governance is essential to management of ICT; this applies to OSS as well as to any ICT asset. The current evolutions of product management, from products to solutions, will apply to OSS as well. The EC will further develop guidelines and best practices allowing the setup of OSS and mixed solutions covering the full set of needed professional services, including deployment of OSS solutions in its data centres at the same level of service as the proprietary ones.
  7. The Commission will continue to develop and adopt best practices and proven tools emerging from OSS communities. In addition, the EC will facilitate and promote the creation of communities for those OSS products released by the Commission.
  8. OSS plays an important role in e-Government projects and will be therefore considered within the framework of these activities.
  9. The collaboration between Commission teams in charge of the internal and external OSS strategies will be further enhanced in order to achieve convergence.
  10. The ICT ecosystem is extremely dynamic, innovative, and constantly evolving; as such it impacts many areas of the Commission's policies. Within this context, DIGIT will continue to play an active role in promoting partnerships between the European Institutions and other stakeholders in the field of OSS.

EU Work to Help OSS in Member Governments

The most important EU resource for OSS in government is OSOR.eu, see http://www.osor.eu/about : OSOR.eu provides unbiased advice and guidance on the use, development, and licensing of free and open source software. If you want to find out more about open source software, we're the people to ask. Examples of OSOR.eu's work includes:

In addition, other parts of the EU have produced very helpful OSS-related work:

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