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European Public Sector OSS Workshop Organised by Swedish NOSAD

Swedish Government Network for Open Source and Data Organizes workshop on Open Source in European Public Services

Published on: 11/03/2021

Knowledge-sharing and collaboration is in the essence of the open source culture. In Sweden, public entities have adopted this mindset in order to improve in the way they use and collaborate on open source software and data. In the newly formed Network Open Source and Data (NOSAD), public entities gather to share best practices and lessons learned through monthly workshops, but also collaborate on community initiatives such as a catalog of open source software used within the public services.

Recently, the network organised a workshop on the topic of how other EU-countries are working to support and enable procurement, development and collaboration on open source software in the public sector. The invited speakers were asked to get to the practical aspects and identify ways that public administrations can help each other taking the first steps on their open source journeys.

The first speaker, Bastien Guerry, a Free Software Officer at Etalab in France outlined the practice of the French national government today, including a tour of the different platforms that are in place to facilitate the sharing and reuse of software developed. A standout effort, as has been reported in OSOR earlier, the French government has built its own open source developer community, called the Blue Hats, that brings together software developers and IT scientists contributing to government-led open source projects.

Mr. Guerry was followed by Leonardo Favario, Open Source Project Leader at the Department for Digital Transformation in Italy. He pointed to the legal developments in the last decade in Italy, where it started with a law stating an open source preference in public procurement and then the legal framework requiring the Italian public administrations to move towards releasing its own code. With this legal framework in place, however, he pointed to the need of enforcement and practical implementation, something he has focused on through the development of clear guidelines for how to comply with the laws.

The final guest speaker was Rasmus Frey, the Executive Director of OS2, an association of mostly municipalities in Denmark. Mr. Frey outlined how they collaborate through this central association, as well as together with their supplier partners in the private sector, to share, reuse and procure open source products and services.

Johan Linåker, researcher from Lund University and workshop organizer was pleased with the turnout and discussions that were fueled by the speakers' presentations.

"For us to really be able to exploit the opportunities offered by the ongoing digital transformation and data-driven innovation, we need to understand and mature in how we can use open source software as a means of collaboration and co-creation. Being able to learn and take inspiration from each other, both nationally and across borders, is key for this to succeed,"

Johan is part of a larger core team, among others including representatives from the Swedish Public Employment Service, The Swedish Agency for Digital Government and Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions.