Public procurement of open source software – webinar takeaways

Key takeaways from the OSOR webinar on public procurement of open source software

Published on: 09/06/2022
Last update: 03/11/2022

On 23 May, the OSOR community joined the webinar on public procurement of open source software. It started with an overview of the soon-to-be-published updated Guidelines on Public Procurement of Open Source Software and was followed by presentations by Johan Linåker, senior researcher at the Research Institute of Sweden (RISE), Rasmus Frey, Head of Secretariat at OS2 (Denmark), and Patrice-Emmanuel Schmitz, a legal expert and one of the authors of the original Guidelines on Public Procurement of Open Source Software. Links to the recording of the event and the supporting presentations are available at the bottom of this page.

The updated Guidelines on Public Procurement of Open Source Software will provide readers with an outline of the European legislative and political framework that support public procurement processes, at both EU and national levels. The guidelines will also explore the good practices public administrations can leverage for each step of the public procurement process, divided into four steps: planning, preparation of tender documentation, evaluating and awarding, and managing the contract.

Johan Linaker

Johan’s presentation outlined the acquisition and development process of OSS in the Swedish public sector. In collaboration with procurement specialists, Johan’s work as a researcher focuses on how to provide support to public administrations willing to acquire OSS using the public procurement frameworks in place.

Johan emphasised that, in each procurement, public administrations should have an overall general strategy on how to consider OSS and enable synergies between projects that can collaborate between themselves, setting up processes between the operations, the architects, the product owners and the procurement officers with common governance models. Sweden is also initialising a test and demonstration environment for municipalities and agencies to test OSS and see how it works in practice. The test and demonstration resources will be provided centrally.

Rasmus Frey

Rasmus presented how OS2 approaches and supports the OSS procurement procedure of Danish municipalities. OS2 guides the Danish public sector to better understand the advantages of OSS and address misconceptions around it. Tools put in place by OS2 to achieve this include the Open Source note for questions about the legality of using open source licenses, a list of trusted private IT companies that are partnered with the organisation, and the solution OS2kravmotor, to assess the non-functional requirements of a project the municipality plans to purchase.

OS2 performs audits of each project to check its compliance with GDPR, and users help evaluate the quality of the project. Furthermore, the OS2 Governance Report points out to the community how privacy and quality of a software should be addressed when developing a new open source project.

Patrice-Emmanuel Schmitz

Patrice-Emmanuel’s presentation highlighted that an open source licence is a legal contract to which a user commits when reusing software. Licensing has an important impact on the redistribution of software and should not be dissociated from procurement, as both represent two steps of the same acquisition process. Aspects such as the compatibility of the software, components and licences should be considered in a way that the redistribution of software remains possible, allowing the community to benefit from future software improvements and developments. To assist this analysis, Patrice-Emmanuel presented two helpful tools: the Joinup Licensing Assistant (JLA), which public administrations can use to find, compare and check the compatibility of licences, and the JLA Compatibility Checker, which allows to merge code, obtain it under various licences, and distribute the results to a third-party, by selecting the inbound and the outbound licences.


For more insights on the public procurement of open source, check out the webinar’s recording below:

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