The Open Source Policy Meeting 2020

17 March 2020

Author: Astor Nummelin Carlberg

Highlights from the event include:

  • Kick-off of the first European Open Source Business Association, APELL
  • Call for input for the EU study on the impact of Open Source on technological independence, competitiveness and innovation
  • Presentations: Gaia-X project and digital sovereignty; hard data on Open Source in France; healthcare and Open Source.

In his presentation, Peter Ganten, CEO of the Open Source Business Alliance, provided insight into the political developments in Germany that have led to the efforts around Gaia-X. The German government together with the opposition parties have expressed concerns around dependency on critical technologies provided principally by the so-called “GAFA” companies. This is especially critical in the cloud area but also in desktop solutions. The concerns expressed have to do with information and legal security as it also has on data protection. The goal of the Gaia-X project is to set up a high-performance, competitive, secure and trustworthy federated data infrastructure for Europe. It is also stated that the project is very open to international contributions.

The morning session then continued with a presentation by Stéfane Fermigier, co-president of CNLL. Together with partners, they have for the last few years conducted a study mapping the developments in the French Open Source market, as well as comparative cases from other EU member states. The study showed among other things that the French Open Source market is the largest in Europe in terms of volume. According to the study, this is due to a strong culture in specific development and integration of heterogeneous systems, as well as a historically large investment by public authorities.

Dr. Axel K. Braun of GNU Health and Stuart Mackintosh of OpusVL each provided a state-of-play report on Open Source usage, challenges and opportunities in the health care sector. Axel K. Braun offered a myth-busting exercise around the applicability of Free Software, as well as its additional benefits in terms of allowing SME inclusion and improvements to privacy. Stuart Mackintosh offered a detailed description of the challenges and successes of the DITO project as part of an Open Digital Approach for the National Health Service in the UK.