The European Commission has just revealed its updated strategy for internal use of Open Source Software for the years 2014-2017. Specific objectives of the renewed strategy include equal treatment of open source and proprietary solutions in procurement, and an increased participation in the work of communities involved in building software used by the Commission. “We use a lot of open source components that we adapt and integrate, and it is time that we contribute back”, said Pierre Damas, Head of Sector at the Directorate General for IT (DIGIT), in a workshop held in December 2014 where he was presenting the upcoming strategy.
The new strategy consists of a set of 10 principles, which remain largely the same as in the previous version (running 2007-2013), but for the first time also makes reference to “a comprehensive action plan” (not published), to be put to execution during the period 2015-2017. The strategy also includes a reminder that the Commission is already making extensive use of open source solutions, notably for its web servers and (since recently) for its Content Management System. OpenForum Europe welcomes this announcement, and congratulates the Commission for steps taken to make better use of open source. “Applied properly, open source software can greatly contribute to improving public services, and ensuring that the Commission retains full control over its ICT”, said Graham Taylor, CEO of OpenForum Europe. The same week, the college of Commissioners agreed on the areas for action of the new Digital Single Market Strategy, which states that “Europeans should be able to fully benefit from interoperable e-services”. “The Commission should be the first to follow its own advice”, said Graham Taylor, adding : “it has an opportunity to lead by example and set a high standard for other public institutions in Europe. While open source software is not the only solution available to achieve these goals, it can often be a strong asset and should in any case always be considered as a viable option.”