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In the July issue
The European wave of open source
People who closely follow the topic of open source within government and especially OSOR readers will surely have noticed: open source is everywhere. This is perhaps best evidenced by various governments’ recent commitments to using open source.

Our journey starts at the eastern border of the European Union, in Estonia. Already well-known for its digital acumen, Estonia famously offers almost all government services online and even gives people the option of taking up e-residency in the country. Open source has played an important role in these digital offerings, but Estonia’s parliament has now made it obligatory for all publicly-owned software to also be openly available.

Meanwhile, in the centre of Europe, the German federal government is working with the 16 federated states to deliver on ambitious plans for a Centre for Digital Sovereignty, which is “to become a central coordinating body for the promotion of Open Source Software (OSS) in the public administration”. Going further than a typical Open Source Programme Office (OSPO), the centre will identify the software needs of the public administration and co-develop the necessary open source solutions, offer guidance and consulting, build international cooperation and create an open source software marketplace.

Going beyond the national level, the European Commission has also re-confirmed its commitment to open source. Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market, gave a speech on open source in the European economy at the Open Source Lisbon conference, emphasising that “in the digital decade, open source will be a key element to achieve Europe’s resilience and digital sovereignty”. Similarly, Thomas Gageik, Director of Digital Business Solutions at DG DIGIT, announced at OW2con that the EU soon intends to have new rules regarding open source in place aimed at improving collaboration between public administrations and companies.

Lastly, a new report titled “Open source in government: creating the conditions for success” was published by Public Digital. It provides governments that are looking to use open source within their digital transformation with a self-assessment tool and concrete recommendations. With the wave of open source spreading throughout Europe, this type of guidance could not be timelier.

The OSOR team

Latest News
Estonia makes public software public

Estonia is known for its tech-savvy government, regularly topping international indicators, such as the European Commission’s DESI Index for Digital Public Services. The Estonian government states that “99% of governmental services are online” and “70% of citizens use their ID-card regularly” for digital government services. The infrastructure software enabling many of these services, X-Road, is already open source software, but recently the Estonian government decided to make all government software publicly available.

A Centre for Digital Sovereignty

The German government is taking the next steps to fulfil its commitment of increasing the level of digital sovereignty of its public sector. In a recent decision, the Conference of the IT Coordinators of the Ministries approved the “Strategy for Strengthening Digital Sovereignty for Public Administration IT”, with a view of creating a Centre for Digital Sovereignty, built on open source.

Thierry Breton on the role of open source

Open source has been of increased interest in digital policy discussions. Recently, the European Commission set up an Open Source Programme Office and expressed support for open source as a component to deliver on Europe’s digital decade.

Report on open source in government

On 21 June, Public Digital published the report “Open source in government: creating the conditions for success”, which aims to inform policy makers about how they can ensure value for money in key digital sectors by using open source. By providing governments with a self-assessment tool and recommendations, this report aims to raise awareness within the public domain on the benefits of openness.

Collaboration with OSS communities – webinar takeaways

On 9 June, the OSOR community took part in an interactive webinar on the collaboration between open source communities and public administrations. The goal of this webinar was to gather useful tips and good practices from two guest speakers: Cristina Moga, co-founder of Citizen Next and CivicTech Romania, and Arnau Monterde, Director of Democratic Innovation (Barcelona City Council) and coordinator of the Decidim community.

Participatory democracy through collaboration

The aim of the Conference on the Future of Europe was to give citizens the chance to share their thoughts and collaborate on how the European Union should develop. It is thus only fitting that the team providing the software to facilitate this conversation chose an open source participatory democracy tool, Decidim, that was also developed collaboratively.

EU Web Accessibility Directive and testing tools

Accessibility standards must be met by public sector websites since September 2020, as part of the steps outlined in the EU Web Accessibility Directive (EU) 2016/2102. From June 2021, the standards also apply to public sector mobile phone apps.

Adapting to OSS development culture – webinar takeaways

On 29 June, the OSOR community got together to discuss how public administrations can adapt to open source software (OSS) development culture. Organised as part of OSOR’s webinar series on public administrations’ journey towards the adoption of OSS, the webinar was an opportunity to hear from two speakers, Stig B. Dørmænen, Senior Adviser at the Norwegian Digitalisation Agency and Philippe Bareille, open source officer at the City of Paris and project manager of Lutece.

Climate monitoring in and for Finnish municipalities

Kausal Watch originated in the municipality of Helsinki, Finland, when a platform for monitoring the climate was developed in 2019. One year later it grew to become a open source company with its own data-driven platform. The main users are Finnish municipalities but there is an active open source community that contributes to further developments.

Irish Covid-19 tracing app moves beyond Ireland as COVID Green

In July 2020, Ireland’s COVID tracing app was released. The tool is based on an exposure notification system and used against the spread of COVID globally. Following the significant uptake from Irish citizens, the tool's source code was used for the Linux Foundation’s COVID Green project and is currently being used in the USA and other countries in Europe.

Open source progress in Schleswig-Holstein

Since the coalition agreement of 2012, Schleswig-Holstein has slowly but steadily moved toward open source solutions in the public sector. Along with other states in Germany, Schleswig-Holstein works for digital independence.

Middleware eID in Belgium is open sourced

In Belgium, the governmental unit for Digital Transformation of the Federal Public Service Policy and Support (BOSA) has developed secure digital ‘keys’ for citizens to communicate with public bodies. The middleware for the eID was released as open source and the community of contributors is active.

Upcoming Events
OSOR webinar – Building cross-administration collaboration on OSS projects

Join us on 5 August for our upcoming webinar on building cross-administration collaboration on open source software (OSS) projects. Our two guest speakers will discuss their experiences in fostering collaboration on OSS projects between public administrations in the Netherlands and Denmark.

permalink Main URL
date 05/08/2021
Online event: FrOSCon 2021

Between 21 and 22 August 2021, the 2021 Edition of the FrOSCon, Free and Open Source Software Conference, will be held online. Organised by the University of Bonn-Rhein-Sieg in Germany, the conference will offer a rich programme of lectures on current developments from the entire field of free and open source software, including sessions on administration, security, legal matters and much more.

permalink Main URL
date 21/08/2021 - 22/08/2021
Online event: Practical Open Source Information

On 16 September at 11:00 – 16:00 EDT, the Open Source Initiative is hosting a half-day virtual conference on Practical Open Source Information. This event is intended as a forum for open source practitioners to discuss all the details of implementing open source. Sessions will focus on various subjects such as choosing a license, legal aspects, procurement processes, pitching the value of open source and much more.

permalink Main URL
date 16/09/2021
Solutions of the Month Service Catalogue

This Finnish open source platform offers users a database of services provided by the government, serving as a central gateway to find and communicate with different public institutions and execute various administrative services.


Open source platform of the City of Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Spain, that facilitates the development of AI applications that help automate, manage and monitor the Smart City infrastructure.


Software for users to browse the descriptions and approval decisions of the Estonian catalogue of public sector information systems (RIHA). RIHA also serves as the procedural and administrative environment via which the comprehensive and balanced development of the state’s information system is ensured.

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