Open source has proven itself in many new technology projects. When governments required fast digitalisation solutions, for instance tracing apps, they were right to trust in the innovative power of open source communities to make a critical contribution. And when they needed new digital infrastructure software, open source helped create interoperable, secure and robust systems.
The great number of national governments that have made commitments to open source this year is a testament to the maturity of the ecosystem. Estonia made open source the default. Germany not only adopted an open source communications system for its health care sector, but also made open source the core of its planned Centre for Digital Sovereignty. The Netherlands realised the potential of open source for active digital public procurement, France set out to create its own Open Source Programme Office and Belgium open sourced its digital identity system.
Unsurprisingly, the developments are not just limited to European governments. To just give a few examples: the Indian government is doubling down on “becoming a vibrant hub for FOSS innovations”, Mexico and other countries are adopting the X-Road infrastructure software and the United Nations is planning to incorporate the open source ethos into its working culture.
These developments are fanned by reports that identify positive effects of government adoption of open source. A Dutch study also pointed to the potential to make government work more openly with open source, a British report investigated what factors determine the success of government open source adoption and the European Commission’s own study showed that open source makes an annual contribution of up to €95 billion to the European economy.
In return, the European Union is making its own contributions. Following a Decision, the Commission will make its software available as open source in one single repository to facilitate access and reuse, in line with the OSS Strategy 2020-2023. Furthermore, the EU digital Covid certification gateway that enables frictionless travel is built on open source. Finally, the Commission has so far collected over 500 digital resources, with more than 100 open source solutions, that are useful tools in the ongoing mitigation of the COVID crisis.
We are looking back with appreciation for the great developments of open source during this past year and are looking forward to moving into the new year to keep shaping this ecosystem together. The OSOR team wishes our readers a pleasant holiday season and a happy and healthy New Year. See you all in 2022!
The OSOR team