European Commission to increase its use of Open Source
The European Commission will take a more pro-active approach to its own use of Open Source and Open Standards. Xavier Heymans highlights the importance of a real and mature collaboration with communities where IT providers share their developments and adopt an "open source" philosophy.
In a document published in March 2008,
the European Commission states among others topics that the Commission will prefer Open Source
software for its new IT projects: "For all new development, where
deployment and usage is foreseen by parties outside of the Commission
Infrastructure, Open Source Software will be the preferred development
and deployment platform."
Next from stating its preference for Open Source for new projects, the EC decided that "for all future IT developments and procurement procedures, the Commission shall promote the use of products that support open, well-documented standards. Interoperability is a critical issue for the Commission, and usage of well-established open standards is a key factor to achieve and endorse it".
The Commission expects to reinforce its internal strategy with its external projects on Open Source, part of its IDABC programme on interoperable e-Government services. "Open Source software plays an important role in e-Government projects and interoperability in the broader sense."
Xavier Heymans, CEO of Zea Partners, an international federation of SMEs developing open source solutions, reacts to these statements. He explains that it's important to build communities around the organization. Open source software brings us a new logic of knowledge management where the knowledge isn't only inside the organization but is shared with lots of people without any formal control. This logic is the real innovation and the real added value. Most IT companies doesn't really understand it yet and sell open source software to do brand marketing. The use of open source software is important, Xavier Heymans tell, but to adopt its way of thinking is even more important. "We draw the attention of the European Commission on the necessity to control that IT providers will work in collaboration with open source communities and will give their development back to society".
More: EU Policy and Research