A Conference about the future of Open Source Software and Open Source Hardware

Open Source has become mainstream across all sectors of the software industry during the past 10 years. To a large extent, open software re-use has proven economically efficient. The level of maturity of Open Source Hardware (OSH) remains far lower than that of Open Source Software (OSS). However, business ecosystems for OSH are developing fast so that OSH could constitute a cornerstone of the future Internet of Things (IoT) and the future of computing.

Conference "Open Source Beyond 2020 - Powering a Digital Europe" Agenda

There are questions that are pertinent to be asked with regard to the future of OSS and OSH: Is the dramatic expansion of Open Source Software going to continue? Where is the limit? Will Open Source Hardware follow the path of its sibling?

In November 2019, the European Commission will be organising a Conference to analyse the future of Open Source Software and hardware. The workshop will bring stakeholders together to discuss current challenges, opportunities, R&I and also economic and policy-making issues.

More specifically, the workshop will focus on:

  • The role of Open Source as an innovation enabler
  • How Open source can contribute towards the technological independence of Europe
  • Open source in the industry and the public sector

Register Here




Thursday, 14 November

08:30 – 09:00 Registration

09:15 – 09:25 Welcoming remarks and scene-setting

Pearse O'Donohue, Director “Future networks”, DG CNECT/E

Thomas Gageik, Director “Digital Business Solutions”, DG DIGIT/B

09:25 – 09:45 Keynote speech TBD

09:45 – 11:15 Panel 1: Role of Open Source as an Innovation enabler.

During the past 15 years, Open Source Software has experienced a dramatic expansion and has constituted a cornerstone that supports many new products. We are now starting a new decade and Open Source seems up to fit for innovation and economic development. What are the emerging, OSS based, business models? What is the economic impact of OSS? What are the issues that may hinder the optimal contribution of Open Source to the economy? How can we reach the full potential of Open Source? What new business model is working? What are the main barriers? Should there be a role for policy setting? What should public services do?

11:15 – 11:30 Coffee break

11:30 – 13:00

Panel 2.1: The advent of Open Source Hardware and the Internet of Things

The level of maturity of Open Source Hardware (OSH) remains far lower than that of Open Source Software. However, the business ecosystem for OSH is developing fast, e.g. the Reprap 3D printer constitutes an ecosystem on its own of global dimension. OSH shares with OSS its modularity and self-assembly feature. If OSH is to follow the same development as OSS, the demand for OSH can be expected to develop rapidly in the next decade. In that sense, it could constitute a cornerstone of the future Internet of Things (IoT) and the future of computing. How OSH may transform established supply chains? The session will build on today’s situation and possible paths of action in the following decade.

Panel 2.2: Nurturing Open Source Communities

In the backdrop of the increasing popularity and use of open source software, it is a paradox that many open source projects continue to struggle to sustain themselves. Remarkably, sustainability issues afflict not just the small and medium-sized project, but also some of the larger and well-known ones. The success of open source software initiatives often goes hand in hand with the success of their communities. So what are the success factors leading to a sustainable community? What are the key challenges open source projects face? More importantly, what can and should be done about the sustainability and funding issue? This session invites a brief discussion to identify key sustainability concerns, followed by two deeper debates on practical proposals/solutions to solve (i) Sustainability issues (ii) Funding issues. The session combines results and inputs from the Commission’s EU-FOSSA project and the Commission’s Open Source Observatory (OSOR)

13:00 – 14:00 Lunch break

14:00 – 15:30

Panel 3.1: Open source and the manufacturing industry

The EU industry is living a fourth industrial revolution lead by new digital paradigms. Open source principles can be applied across the value chain from hardware to software infrastructures and applications in many areas. These principles can help the EU ensure there is healthy competition. This session focuses in Open Source as innovation enabler for the industry and how technological barriers could exist or cease to exist in the next decade.  

Panel 3.2: Knowledge transfer

Over the years open source projects, user organisations and service providers have created a valuable pool of knowledge and best practices in developing, securing, maintaining and providing solutions in open source. On the whole, the smaller and newer open source projects, SMEs and user organisations do not have access to this pool of knowledge. This session aims to confirm the key issues in knowledge transfer, and then seeks to formulate concrete proposals for knowledge sharing and transfer between the various stakeholders within the open source software ecosystem. The session combines results and inputs from the Commission’s EU-FOSSA project.

15:30 – 15:45 Coffee break

15:45 – 17:15

Panel 4.1: Open source and the ICT industry

Many Open Source based business models have succeeded (e.g. Canonical, Red Hat). Moreover, different ICT players have embraced Open Source to stay competitive or to enter into fierce competition with dominant established players (e.g. Google developed Android in order to compete with the iPhones and attain a critical mass of application developers). The recent acquisition of RedHat by IBM for $34 billion, GitHub by Microsoft for $7.5 billion and Microsoft’s participation in Linux Foundation since November 2016, demonstrate how the mindset of the biggest software vendors has shifted towards exploiting Open Source as a key asset for their business. What is going to come next? What are the plans of the ICT industry?

Panel 4.2: Lowering the barriers for SMEs to provide their open source services to the public sector

A large numbers of SMEs work with open source software and form the backbone of the open source ecosystem. However, there exist barriers to selling to public services, which means that they are under-represented within European Public Services. This session aims to elicit the key barriers SMEs face to access European Public Services and asks participants to brainstorm and provide concrete proposals to break down these barriers and improve such access. The session combines results and inputs from the Commission’s EU-FOSSA project.

Friday, 15 November

08:30 – 09:00 Registration

09:00 – 09:15 Welcoming Day 2 TBD

09:15 – 10:45

Panel 5.1: Digital skills for Open Source

The demand for software is fuelled by the increasing capability of software to perform tasks that were previously accomplished through some form of hardware. While the malfunctioning of the PC in the 90s could cause the loose of hours of work, the malfunctioning of the software inside a car or a plane puts at risk human lives. This is affecting the sort of skills required to benefit from the advantages modern technology offers. What kind of skills are required to enable digital capabilities of the latest innovations? How can this process be facilitated? What sort of skills are necessary to obtain the optimal benefit from Open Source? How could Open Source skills could help engineers with the requirements of new IoT products?

Panel 5.2: The role of Standards in Open Source

Open Source development process has demonstrated its capacity in the productions of millions of lines of code use across billions of devices. Is this way of developing the next stage to be adopted by SDOs? To what extent a closer collaboration between standards and open source software development could increase the efficiency of both processes? How can intellectual property regimes applied by SDOs influence the ability and motivation of open source communities to cooperate with them? This session will include the latest studies carried out connecting Open Source and Standardisation and enquiry on how the interoperability if the Open Data Space could be promoted through standardisation.

10:45 – 11:00 Coffee break

11:00 – 12:30

Panel 6.1: Open Science and Open Source

ICT developments and in particular Open Source have contributed to Open Science practices, especially open access publishing and open access to research data, collaborative practices etc. For example, a very well known Open Source Software for publishing platforms, the Open Journal Systems, has vastly contributed to developing open access journals across the globe and has empowered institutional publishers, such as universities, to develop their own publishing activities, or transfer their print activities into the digital medium. Items for discussion include: infrastructures running on OSS, under open standards, with open APIs etc.; OSS development models inspiring new ways for opening the research system; how Open Science paradigms could be transposed into the Open Source of the future.  

Panel 6.2: Support and operational threads of Open Source in public services

Provision of adequate support for open source software, especially in critical software solutions, remains a key barrier to greater use of open source. However, across Europe, groups of local public services have found practical ways to pool efforts and resources. This panel focuses on these practices, aiming to find a European-wide common ground. The session combines results and inputs from the Commission’s EU-FOSSA project.

12:30 – 13:30 Lunch break

13:30 – 15:00

Panel 7: Improving openness, trust and security thanks to open source

The advent of emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence and blockchain and the exponential increase in cybersecurity threats made the demand for security, trust and transparency in decision making as key priorities in designing ICT systems. Open source is seen as a mechanism to ensure such characteristics. The purpose of this session is to highlight the role of Open Source towards achieving security, trust and transparency in decision-making. What are the strengths but also what are the weaknesses and limitations? The session combines results and inputs from the Commission’s EUFOSSA project.

15:00-15:15 Closing Remarks TBD

Physical location
Avenue de Beaulieu 25, 1160 Brussels, Room 0/S1 (ground floor)
Please take into account sufficient time to get through the security control
at the Commission's premises.