Free software in Europe's public sector HOWTO Open Source in public administration


  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. HOWTO open source in public administrations
  2. Key policies
  3. Expected benefits
  4. What's missing?
  5. But first: about OSOR

Open Source Observatory & Repository


HOWTO open source in public administration

1. Make free & open source a task for the CIO

  • Licence costs are just the tip of the iceberg
  • Flexibility, scalability, speed
  • Take control, get rid of lock-in
National UK GDS Open Source Lead, France CIO/DINSIC
Multi-municipal DK OS2, Norway Kongsberg, Belgium Imio
Municipality Germany Mayor of Munich
Region Basque Country CIO
Organisation Finland CIO Ministry of Justice

2. Make Moz://a Firefox the default browser

  • Provides leverage in dealing with IT suppliers
  • Break the lock-in to IE and proprietary technology
  • Available on all workstation operating systems
Supreme Court, Slovenia Leipzig, Germany
Gendarmerie, France Vienna, Austria
LNEC, Portugal Fontaine, France
Schoten, Belgium Munich, Germany
Zaragoza, Spain Arnhem, Netherlands
Aarhus, Denmark Basque Country, Spain

3. Make open standards mandatory

  • Be mindful of the definition
  • Take care of the selection process
  • Walk your talk
Open standards policy United Kingdom
Open standards list Sweden
European Commission Sharing and Reuse Framework

4. Help the organisation change

  • Small-scale pilots
  • Involve key-actors
  • Communicate, explain and motivate
Good Bad
Nantes, France Ede, Netherlands
Justice Ministry, Finland Freiburg, Germany
Zaragoza, Spain Duisburg, Germany
Defence Ministry, Italy Pesaro, Italy
Bern, Switzerland Emilia-Romagna region, Italy
Genoa, Italy South Tyrol province, Italy
  Justice Ministry, Belgium
  Ostrava, Czech Republic
See also:  
The Document Foundation  

5. Engage the communities

  • Require open source skills (in-house and suppliers)
  • Optimise procurement to SMEs and sole proprietors
  • Promote, sponsor and facilitate open source development
Nantes (FR) organises improvements to LibreOffice
Munich (DE) main contributor to open source
DINSIC (FR) hackathons

Key policies

  • France's Digital Law & rules on Public Sector Information
  • United Kingdom's Open Standards Policy
  • Bulgaria's amended eGovernment law, mandating a national 'GitHub'

Expected benefits

  • Autonomy, sovereignty, control
  • Increased efficiency, innovation
  • Growth of local, national & European software & services sector

What's missing?

  • Political awareness
  • Well-organised advocacy by civil groups and industry
  • Patches for procurement



  • Thanks to our European Commission for making this possible
  • Thanks to Clémentine Valayer, Daniel Melin, Eric Ficheux, Laurent Joubert, and many others for their valuable comments
  • Thanks to the herculean Debian, Emacs, Org-mode, and Reveal.js

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