Free and open source software in Europe: policies and implementations

Innovate & modernise

To deliver innovative government solutions, Europe's public administrations turn to free and open source software. Innovation is the main motive, costs saving come next. The OSOR news items show that the freedom, flexibility and scalability enabled by open source software make it an obvious choice for public ventures.


  • It makes business sense to use open source software. All the big IT companies are doing it. But public administrations especially ought to share their software.

  • Public administrations that invest in open source create future benefits and generate a virtuous loop between the public and private sector.

Pay it forward

  • Public administration software is financed by taxpayers, and making it public is the best way to share the solutions with citizens and companies.

  • Share their code and their improvements to existing code publicly, is a way to make their IT investments pay forward, and technological self-reliance into the bargain.

It's public administration

Source code is information. And just like other public administrative documents, it should be publicly accessible.

Croatia knows how (i)

Open source streamlines pension system Croatia

Open source wipes costs Croatia pension fund

Software workshops attract Croatian students

Croatia's president praises creative spirit of open source community

Croatian government creates working group on open source and open standards

Croatian president supports free software conference

Cautious start for open standards in new e-government policy

Open source professor honored

Croatia government organises open source conference

Croatia standards institute approves odf

Openoffice manuals for all state employees and teachers

About this talk

the big trends

give lots of examples

first: thanks, dorscluc

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 appreciate 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

Croatia knows how (ii)

Croatia's President praises creative spirit of open source community

The (former) President of Croatia Ivo Josipović appreciates the
creative and innovative spirit of the open source community. "What you
are doing is something good, creative and innovative", he was quoted
as saying, while opening the Croatian Linux Users' Convention 2013.

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 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 its amendment software as open source

two hundred ways to switch an ec directorate to open source

open source software assists European citizens to petition the EU

open source is everywhere:

in ministries

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

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

open source is everywhere:

in capitals, big cities, towns and tiny villages

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

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 appreciate the values of 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.”

Research done on municipal governments in the netherlands shows:

  • Political support and pioneers ar pivotal for open source.

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.

open ict standards fundamental for small ict firms

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

must hear procuring software by mentioning brand names

must read issues in open source procurement in the european public sector i

Fourth problem: unacustomed

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:

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

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 deeper examples

Five step programme

Similar to the UK:

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

Similar to the Canary Islands in Spain:

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

Similar to Basque Country (Spain) or Munich (Germany):

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

Similar to the Gendarmerie (France)

  • Open source provides leverage (when / to) suppliers;
  • It improves IT management (reducing licence costs is the tip of the iceberg);

Similar to the city of Ede (The Netherlands):

  • Make Firefox the mandatory standard browser;


Courtesy to the Herculean

Emacs Org-mode

and the stirring


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