Open Source: new bet of the European Commission

The European Commission approved, at the end of October, the new Open Source Software Strategy 2020-2023. This fact is relevant to achieving the objectives of the Commission’s global digital strategy and is also a contribution to the Digital Europe program.

What is this document about?

The Open Source Software Strategy 2020-2023 encompasses a set of internal guidelines to be implemented by the European Union on free software. These will be developed between this year and 2023 and, basically, seek to take advantage of all the benefits that this software offers for development.

In addition, the implementation of this document is based on six essential principles. These are: secure, transform, share, contribute, maintain control and think openly (Think Open).

The new open source software strategy is a practical instrument for the Commission’s digital transformation. It is also an important enabler for innovation that will equip us with the knowledge to create a better and even more inclusive digital environment within and beyond our organization.

Mario Campolargo, Acting Director-General of DG Informatics.

Think Open: An Innovative Wave

The Think Open approach defines a path that will advocate promoting and harnessing the transformative and innovative as well as collaborative power of open source and its development principles.

Additionally this document provides for the exchange and reuse of software proposals and experiences, with the aim of being able to provide society with quality European services that reduce costs.

This Software Strategy is, as a matter of fact, a continuation of the one implemented in the 2014-2017 period. Then, that document emphasized the contracting and contributing to these projects and encouraged more open source software developed at the Commission.

Objectives of the Software Strategy

According to the Commission’s website, the essential objectives of this document will certainly allow the European entity:

  • Walk towards digital autonomy.
  • Implement the digital strategy of the European Commission.
  • Promote the exchange and reuse of software and applications, as well as data, information and knowledge.
  • Contribute to the knowledge society, sharing the Commission’s source code.
  • Build a world-class public service.

How to achieve the objectives of the Software Strategy?

Its important to realize that The European Commission aims to strengthen the internal work culture, which today is largely based on the principles of open source. On the other hand, it aims to achieve the objectives of the strategy from the development of the following actions:

  • Set up an open source software office in the Commission.
  • Set and promote the inner source default.
  • Enhance the software repository.
  • Revise software distribution practices.
  • Enable and create innovation with open source labs.
  • Develop skills and recruiting expertise.
  • Increase outreach to communities.
  • Integrate OS into the internal governance of IT.
  • Ensure OSS security.
  • Encourage and promote the inner source.

The strategy reaffirms the Commission’s increased involvement with open source. Openness is the fundamental engine of innovation. Open source is one part: encouraging smart minds to work together and solve complex problems with unexpected solutions.

Thomas Gageik, Director of Digital Business Solutions at DG Informatics.

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