Free and open source software in Europe

policies & implementations

Gijs Hillenius


Come again?!

Dutch Parliament urges increase of open source

“Recent years, however, have been pretty quiet.”

The Dutch government has been encouraging open source and open standards for a decade.

It has had:

Have you not heard?

Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes: 'EC must not accept closed standards'

“I know a smart business decision when I see one”

Peter de Beijer: 'Open source only' at Dutch police Internet forensics

“The technologies are open. We are all performing the same tasks, we want to share and re-use and that is why we only consider
open source tools.”

About this talk

The big trends

Give lots of examples

First: thanks, T-Dose!

About me, OSOR and Joinup

The big trends

Public administrations increasingly use free and open source

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

“Using an open source desktop lowers the total cost of ownership by 40%, in savings on  proprietary software licences and by
reducing costs on IT management.”

The number of politicians that dig open source is rising

New MEPs urge building links to open source communities

Julia Reda and Max Andersson, newly elected Members of the European Parliament, want to build links with 
well-known free software communities.

Public administrations use open source

for everything, everywhere

  • content management
  • document management
  • database applications
  • e-government services
  • citizen participation
  • geo-information systems
  • open data
  • software development

and across all sectors

Open source is everywhere:

In the EU's institutions

European parliament releases its amendment software as open source

EC recommends supporting open document format

Two hundred ways to switch an EC Directorate to open source

Open source to formalise European railway specifications

Open source software assists European citizens to petition the EU

EUPL and CeCILL become compatible

Circabc 3.6 now available on Joinup

Open e-PRIOR pre-award version released

Commission tailors GNU/Linux server specialised in blogs

Open source is everywhere:

In ministries

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

Spain's Finance ministry offers open source email cloud service

Norway local gov ministry uses open source version control system

Estonian ministry saves millions by using open source

Linux clusters in German finance ministry data centre

Open source is everywhere:

In capitals, big cities, towns and tiny villages

Germany's Munich, Leipzig, Gummersbach and perhaps next in Hamburg

Spanish cities Zaragoza, Madrid, Bilbao and Badajoz

Portugal's Vieira do Minho

Denmark's second-largest city Århus

Dutch city of Ede

Towns of Grygov and Jihlava in the Czech Republic

Villages of Toulouse, Arles, Voreppe and many others in France

Poland's Poznan

Italy's Bologna, Genoa, Udine and towns in the Umbria region

Open source is everywhere:

Across all sectors, including


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 across competing office suites"

Rotterdam hospital selects open source for internal ordering system

Open source is everywhere:

Across all sectors, including


such as a Epoptes - PC lab management tool - in over 500 Greek schools

Or schools in Austria and Switzerland

And the Westcliff High School for Girls Academy in the UK

WHSG school's Network Manager, Malcolm Moore:

“This school specialises in science and engineering and if our students are to go on to do great things like start the next
Google or collapse the universe at CERN... they will certainly need to know Linux.”

Open source is everywhere:

Across all sectors, including


Open source advancing at Dutch defence ministry

Polish Defence Ministry moving to open source email and groupware

NATO makes ODF one of its mandatory standards

Ministry of Defense to switch to Pardus GNU/Linux

Russian government to invest in open source desktop

First problem: Too few politicians dig open source

Politicians should recognise the value of open source in terms of responsable government, sustainability, openess and independence from IT vendors. They should recognise that governments using open source create future benefits.

Serafín Olcoz Yanguas, the former chief information officer of Basque Country

“(Free and open source software) creates a virtuous loop between the public and private sector, 
with a recurring public contribution.”

Second problem: The desktop.

Even the EC admits it is locked-in.

Open office choices grip multiple languages

Do as I say, not as I do.

Third problem: Procurement.

MEP Andersdotter: 'EC procurement practice blocks European firms'

EC calls for use of ICT standards to battle IT vendor lock-in

EC considering hotline for procurement errors

'Discriminatory procurement specifications widespread'

Openforum Europe: Procurement law fails to address discriminatory practices

Open Standards for ICT Procurement

must hear Procuring software by mentioning brand names

must read Issues in open source procurement in the European public sector I

Fourth problem:

Shy and unsure

Public administrations are shy when releasing their code as open source, and seem unsure about contributing to well-known open source projects.

Even though this was extensively researched at the EC, and there are no objections.

Public administrations, as system owner of a software asset, have every right to 'give away' an asset via the appropriate licensing scheme, as explained here.

Though many get it:

Top three most visible open source implementations

1. French Gendarmerie

72,000 Ubuntu Linux & LibreOffice desktops

Major Stéphane Dumond (Gendarmerie, France): “The direct benefits of saving on licences are the tip of the iceberg. 
An industrialised open  source desktop is a powerful lever for IT governance.”

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

2. The government of Spain's Exremadura autonomous region

42,000 Ubuntu Linux desktops (target)

Manuel Velardo (Cenatic, Spain): "Young CIOs are more used to open source than older ones."

Issues in open source procurement in the European public sector II


  • 22,000 PCs in government offices will use Lingobex
  • 93,000 school PCs and laptops run Linex

3. The city administration of Munich

14,800 Ubuntu Linux and LibreOffice desktops, now

Christian Ude (Mayor of Munich, Germany) meets Bill Gates.

Gates: “Mr. Ude, why are you doing this?”.
Ude: “To gain freedom.”

Gates: “Freedom from what?”
Ude: “Freedom from you, Mr. Gates.”

LiMux - the IT evolution

Five striking examples

'All Is Not Well'

Policies on Sharing and Re-Use

ISA Report on Policies and Initiatives on Sharing and Re-use shows:

  • 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

Policy examples

Last words

The European Commission says:

“Many organisations are locked into their ICT systems, so that when they need to buy new components or licenses
there are only few potential suppliers (or even just a single one).”
“This lack of competition leads to higher prices.
Some 1.1 billion euro per year is lost unnecessarily in the public sector alone.”


Courtesy to the Herculean

Emacs Org-mode

and the stirring


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