Free & open source software in Europe Policies and Implementations


  1. The information and views set out in this presentation are those of the presenter and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of this presentation.
  2. Free software and open source software are synonyms.

This talk

  1. The big trends
  2. Main policies
  3. Key implementations
  4. To open source in 6 steps
  5. But first: about OSOR.

Open Source Observatory & Repository


Open Source Observatory & Repository

Sharing & Reuse Award

The EC will award EUR 15,000 and EUR 10,000 to the two most-proven public administration IT solutions.

Just over 100 projects submitted.

Prizes will be announced in March 2017.

OSOR context

ISA² Programme

ISA² Actions


The big trends

Public administrations increasingly use free and open source

French Gendarmerie: "Open source desktop lowers TCO by 40%"

Oettinger: ‘Open source licences should be the norm’

‘Open source values match municipal public services’

Public administrations use open source

for everything, everywhere

  • content management
  • document management
  • tasks management
  • database applications
  • eGovernment services
  • citizen participation
  • geoinformation systems
  • open data
  • software development

in the EU institutions

A fifth of software at EC is open source

European Parliament increases budget for EU-Fossa

European Commission to update its open source policy

EU: EUR 1 million for security audit of open source

EC recommends supporting open document format

European Parliament releases amendment software as open source

Two hundred ways to switch an EC directorate to open source

in ministries

Hungary to increase use of open source software

Estonian finance ministry seeks OSS service provider

How 17 French ministries joined forces to support free software

German Interior Ministry seeks open source expertise

French ministries prove free software is viable

Linux clusters in German Finance Ministry data centre

French Interior Ministry: open source 5 to 10 times cheaper

Finland's Ministry of Justice migrates to openoffice

Polish Economy Ministry makes consultation site open source

in regional governments

Paris Region unveils officials information system

France’s Vendée shares its eGovernment platform

Andalusia provides messaging services 4 euro user year

Emilia-Romagna completes switch to Openoffice

Italy's Puglia region passes law on use of open source and open data

Italy's Lazio region adopts law on open source and open data

Athens region considers switch to open source

in capitals, big cities, towns and villages

Amsterdam Albi Ale Alingsås Århus Åstorps Arnhem Arles Baarn Brussels Belovo Borås Bern Bonn Ballerup Bari Boechout Brecht Boom Bologna Bristol Bregenz Baloži Birmingham Ciudad Real Dadou De Bilt Dryanovo Dortmund Donostia-San Sebastián Dublin Ede Epe Essen Falköping Fontaine Grästorps Genoa Grygov Graz Gdańsk Hallbergs Helsinki Hospitalet Jaworzno Kardjali Katowice Koigi Kostenec København Kalmthout Kapellen Łeba Limerick Lingewaard Lyngby-Taarbæk Marseille Miskolc Munich Modena Muenster Mainz Mölndal Narbonne Neerijnen Nice Nivelles Nuremberg Oulu Osby Oude IJsselstreek Poznan Paris Peshtera Rotterdam Roosendaal Rebild Roskilde San Giorgio Schoten Salzburg Schwäbisch Hall Santiago de Compostela Stenungsund Sorø Schilde Stabroek Tallinn Tampere Tarn Trento Toulouse Turin Trieste Tulle Tibro Tidaholms Tholen Todi Terni Udine Uddevalla Vara Vårgårda Vallensbæk Vianen Voerendaal Vieira do minho Voreppe Valmiera Vratza Vught Wijk bij Duurstede Wien (Vienna) Wijnegem Wommelgem Wuustwezel Zaragoza Zagreb Zandhoven Zoersel


Open source healthcare system adds 3 more hospitals

Open source central to e-health project Danish Syddjurs

Open source empowers Sintra health centre

Luxembourg open source health records system gains foothold

More and more Linux in Riga children hospital

Hospitals eyeing open source patient record system

Hospital in Porto to switch 3000 PCs to open source office suite

Danish hospital: "Hassle free use of ODF"

Rotterdam hospital selects open source for internal ordering system

Liège hospitals use open source imaging tool


French Gendarmerie: "Open source desktop lowers TCO by 40%"

Lithuanian police switched to LibreOffice; piloting use of Ubuntu Linux

Lower costs nudge Irish police towards open source

'Open source only' at Dutch police Internet forensics

UK: 'Police systems should be open source to ensure interoperability'

Belgium police sharing and reusing web technology


Italian military move first 8000 PCs to LibreOffice

Rusia kicks out IBM, Microsoft and Oracle

Open source advancing at Dutch defence ministry

Polish defence ministry moving to open source email and groupware

Dutch government to shore up open source security

Ministry of defense to switch to Pardus GNU/Linux


Grenoble continues to move schools to open source

Spain’s Valencia reuses Greek PC-lab software

New Extremadura Govt to support open source in schools

Tallinn schools piloting open source software

Slovakia school open source campaign to continue

Valencia Linux school distro saves EUR 36 million

Umbrian schools teach Venice how to switch to open source

Swiss school invests open source savings in education

Epoptes - PC lab management tool - in over 500 Greek schools

Geneva class-rooms switching to free software

geographic information systems

Open source wins over France’s urban planners

Dutch provinces save millions sharing and reusing GIS tools

Open source EcoGIS lets towns reduce CO₂ emission

Western Greece switches to using open source GIS

New case studies proof competence gvSIG’s GIS tools

Austria's Voralberg sponsors improvements to Quantum GIS software

UK's Geological Survey contributes to open source GIS tools

Open Source GIS systems to be used by Spanish Wine maker

Valencia migrates three open source GIS tools to OSOR

Open source GIS Tuscany for government, libraries and health care


  • faltering political support
  • entrenched IT vendors
  • entrenched IT departments
  • lack of experience
  • procurement
  • unorganised advocacy
  • only national trade groups

Research done on municipal governments in the Netherlands shows:
Political support and pioneers are pivotal for open source.

problem¹ learn more
- short-term versus long-term  
- migration costs & exit costs Hidden cost of proprietary standards
- lack of business models  
- lock-in Cost of vendor lock-in too high
- legal uncertainty European Union Public Licence
- lack of ICT support How 17 French ministries joined forces
- no incentives  
- large procurement favours large firms UK Government G-Cloud
  1. source: Report on Policies and Initiatives on Sharing and Re-use

Licence complexities

Proprietary licences both frustrating and pushing move to PostgreSQL


'Procurement law fails to address discriminatory practices'

Must hear Procuring software by mentioning brand names

Must read Issues in open source procurement in the European public sector

IT lock-in

Even the EC admits that it is locked-in.

"The current captivity situation as regards desktop operating systems and productivity tools is not new or limited to the Commission."

Main policies

Sharing and Re-use policies

  • All EU member states address sharing and re-use
  • About half of them have legislation
    • by listing standards or
    • with a policy on sharing and re-use of software

Sharing and Re-use contract clauses

  • The right to redistribute software when written by/for the authority
  • Reusing third parties' IPR assets
  • Reusing and distributing the documentation
  • 'No Vendor Lock-in' clause

Sharing and Re-use business models

12 ways for Europe's public administrations to share and or reuse ICT assets

Key implementations

  • Norway cloud services
  • Belgium towns developing software together
  • Sweden regions developing software together
  • France public administrations sharing software
  • European Commission sharing and auditing code
  • Estonia open APIs
  • Spain GitHub & Federation

Six step programme

Step 1: The UK and France

  • Make the use of open standards mandatory (ODF);
  • Be serious about creating a level playing field for open source software;
  • Make that a task for the nation's CIO;

Step 2: The Canary Islands (Spain)

  • Provide political support for the CIO;
  • Allow him to keep in his budget the savings realised by switching to open source;

Step 3: Basque Country (Spain), the city of Munich (Germany), or France

  • Make all parts of the IT infrastructure open source;
  • Promote diversification, create chances for local industry;
  • Pay it forward, instead of sunk costs

Step 4. Gendarmerie (France)

  • Open source provides leverage in dealing with ICT suppliers;
  • Open source improves IT management
  • Reducing licence costs is the tip of the iceberg;

Step 5. The city of Ede (The Netherlands):

  • Make Firefox the mandatory standard browser;

Step 6. Hackathons & bite sized procurement


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