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. Main implementations
  3. Key policies
  4. Expected benefits
  5. What's missing?
  6. 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

Main implementations

  1. Workstations - full: operating systems and office productivity tools
  2. Workstations - partial: office productivity tools
  3. Annex: Other implementations

1. Operating systems & office productivity

Gendarmerie, France

72,000 Linux workstations

  • Open source desktop lowers TCO by 40%
  • An industrialised open source desktop is a powerful lever for IT governance
  • Being independent from proprietary software vendors is priceless

City of Munich, Germany

17,018 Linux and Libreoffice workstations

  • Contributed hundreds of bugfixes to open source projects, mostly through external service providers
  • One developer contributed 96 patches to LibreOffice, all of which are included in the most recent version, 5
  • Backporting 300+ patches to its version of LibreOffice (4.2.)

City of Zaragoza, Spain

1200 AZLinux and LibreOffice workstations (target 1800)

  • Migration project has very few resources
  • Main hurdle: MS Office macros and business applications tied to MS Office
  • Spin-off projects in universities and schools

2. Office productivity implementations

  • LibreOffice implemented in about half of all the ministries of France: about 500,000 workstations
  • LibreOffice implemented in Dutch central government, at between 40,000 and 100,000 workstations

Ministry of Defense, Italy

LibreOffice to be implemented on well over 100,000 workstations

  • The LibreDifesa project is projected to save EUR 26 to 29 million
  • The military is studying Linux on desktop
  • Already piloting the Zimbra email, calendaring and collaboration suite


  • 10,000 pcs in healthcare organisations use Lingobex Salud
  • 22,000 pcs in government offices will use Lingobex
  • 93,000 school pcs and laptops run Linex


LibreOffice implemented on close to 10,000 workstations

  • Saving EUR 1 million
  • Free software is part of the city's digital policy
  • Free software is a driver of local economic development and employment.

Basque Country

LibreOffice implemented on over 8,000 workstations

  • Free software preferred policy
  • SALE: free and open source resource centre
  • About 300 Kznux Linux workstations

Police, Lithuania

LibreOffice implemented on 8,000 workstations

  • Saving EUR 1 million
  • The police have started testing of workstations running Linux
  • Once staff members realised the huge savings, they became open to change, and quickly adapted

Nantes, France

LibreOffice implemented on 5,000 workstations

  • Saving EUR 1,6 million now, and EUR 260,000 every year
  • Is earmarking 11% of these savings to help keep LibreOffice up to date, fix bugs and add new features
  • Biggest problem: MS Office macros and document interoperability

3. Annex: Other implementations

Public administrations now use free and 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

Russia kicks out IBM, Microsoft and Oracle

In regional governments

Paris Region unveils officials information system

France’s Vendée shares its eGovernment platform

Andalusia provides messaging services EUR 4 per user per year

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

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 Rome 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

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

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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