Year in Review at OFE

20 December 2021

Author: Sachiko Muto

2021 has been an important year for OFE, but also digital policy in general. Open technologies have been recognized at the highest level as an important tool to meet the digital and societal challenges we face. Open technologies have played an important role in our response to the covid pandemic, we have seen a renewed appreciation for interoperability’s importance for well-functioning digital markets, and the importance of Open Source and open standards is right at the heart of the discussions on digital autonomy. The discussions revolving around the Digital Services Act package as well as the new rules for Open Source Software distribution, the building of Open Source Programme Offices across Europe show that the policy makers’ interest has been piqued. I hope to see that the next 20 years will be spent to come together to make the promise of ‘open’ a reality.

This year has been a busy one for OFE. So busy, in fact, that we have not celebrated our 20th anniversary properly. We hope that you will join us (albeit online) for our EU Open Source Policy Summit on February 4 where we will acknowledge this, but mainly focus on the role of Open Source in finding the solutions for the grand challenges we face.

Later in 2022, when we can meet in person again, we will have a real celebration. That party, however, will fittingly be hosted by OFE’s new Executive Director, Astor Nummelin Carlberg.

Year in review letters tend to be a long numeration of different accomplishments and this one will is not very different. I would like to focus on a few key moments from the year gone by:

Publication of the Open Source Economic Impact Study

In September, the landmark study on the impact of Open Source Software and Hardware on technological independence, competitiveness and innovation in Europe that we conducted along with Fraunhofer ISI was published by the European Commission.

Soon after its publication, the study gathered global attention from policy makers and media. We have received reports that it has garnered attention in ministries across Europe. But in fact it has already been used as the basis for policy efforts, such as the European Commission’s new rules on Open Source Software and the French government’s new policy effort focusing on public data, algorithms and public source codes. We have also seen calls to conduct similar studies in other jurisdictions, such as in Frank Nagle’s report published by the Brookings Institution.

OFE’s Events in 2021

While the global pandemic kept us physically apart, OFE managed to bring the global Open Source community together in a series of events on many different topics. Do go through the list and view the recordings of events that are relevant to you:

OFE on the Conference Circuit

We are also grateful to all the stakeholders that organised important events and conferences discussing open technologies and public policy. We all need to work together to increase the understanding of these important issues. I’m glad to see that OFE staff participated as speakers at many different events, such as:
Thank you to those who made it through this long list of actions and achievements. This could not be possible without all our partner organisations, businesses, academics and friends of OFE. We thank you all for supporting our work and playing an active role in shaping the digital infrastructures of the future in a way that is open and collaborative.

Now, the OFE team starts their well-earned vacation and wishes you all the best for the holidays and the new year 2022.

Sachiko Muto, CEO and Chairman