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Key takeaways from the webinar on the collaboration between public administrations and OSS communities

Collaboration with OSS communities – webinar takeaways

Published on: 24/06/2021 News

As part of its webinar series on public administrations’ journey towards the adoption of open source software (OSS), the OSOR community took part in an interactive webinar on the collaboration between open source communities and public administrations on 9 June. Collaboration is crucial: the involvement of several contributors, including open source communities, supports the sustainability of OSS projects in the public sector by fostering software quality and the vibrancy of its development cycle. The goal of this webinar was to gather useful tips and good practices regarding the collaboration between open source communities and public administrations. You can find the supporting presentations from the event at the bottom of this page.

Our guest speakers were Cristina Moga, co-founder of Citizen Next and CivicTech Romania, and Arnau Monterde, Director of Democratic Innovation (Barcelona City Council) and coordination or the Decidim community. They shared their experience on the collaboration between open source communities and public administrations and good practices to overcome the challenges that might arise along the way.

Cristina shared that, in spite of the limited use of OSS within the Romanian public sector, the country benefits from a high level of engagement of OSS communities contributing to the creation of digital public services. Since 2016, the Romanian government has intensified its efforts to engage with open source thanks to the governmental initiative GovITHub, which has been instrumental in creating synergies between the public administration and Romanian OSS communities.

One of the first GovITHub fellows, Cristina now works with the independent NGOs Citizen Next and CivicTech Romania to collaborate with the Romanian public administrations. She responds to their needs and promotes the use of OSS. By demonstrating the robustness and security of OSS solutions, Cristina wants to raise awareness of the benefits of OSS and build trust.

Cristina highlighted the positive social impact on the country of Citizen Next’s solutions as a key factor to her OSS community’s vibrance and motivation, as illustrated by the development of the COVID-safe solution. Responding to Romanian citizens’ needs, the solution received praised from the media and is considered as a strong example of OSS solutions for public administrations being not only reliable but also cost effective.

Cristina Moga

 

Arnau Monterde

 

Arnau stressed the importance of finding a balanced governance model for a public-sector-led OSS community to ensure good collaboration between all contributors, including those in the private sector. Indeed, the Decidim community is a rich ecosystem of public institutions, software development companies and other contributors directly involved in the project. Against this backdrop, Decidim has adopted a community-centred governance where members can exchange and debate on the future of the software on their dedicated Decidim platform. The right choice of licensing, AGPL in the case of Decicim, is also a key element to protect the openness of the software and oblige code re-users to choose open licences themselves.

Additionally, Arnau emphasised the necessity to create new models to share the ownership of the code. While the main repository is owned by the City of Barcelona, the ownership of external contributions lies with the contributors. Additionally, to avoid creating many forked projects, the Decidim community opted for a decentralised approach. One primary repository is maintained by the City of Barcelona while individual organisations can use Decidim to host the service on its own servers. The software’s high level of modularity gives enough customisation options to Decidim users to tailor it to their needs. Finally, with the recent set up of the Decidim Association, the community wants to foster its independence.

 

The next webinar of this series will be held on 29 June. Join us to learn more about Public administrations adapting to OSS development culture!

 

The recording of the webinar is available below*:

*Due to technical issues, the recording of the webinar is partial and starts at the second half of the event.

Video URL

 

The presentations shared during the webinar are accessible via the links below:

Attachments