For the second time in just three months, the European Parliament has called on the European Commission to to increase the share of free and open source software. On 19 January, in a so-called own-initiative report, the EP also urged the EC to use this type of software to promote reuse in and between public administrations as a solution to increase interoperability.
The European Parliament says that free and open source software will ‘boost competitiveness through interoperability and standardisation’.
In October, the EP called “for the systematic replacement of proprietary software by auditable and verifiable open-source software in all the EU institutions, and for the introduction of a mandatory open-source-selection criterion in all future ICT procurement procedures.”
In a statement, the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) says it is “glad to see that the Parliament took an affirmative attitude and a bolder stance towards the increased use of free software and its importance to digital single market.”
The resolution “Towards a Digital Single Market Act”, is the Parliament’s answer to the Commission’s Digital Single Market Strategy.
In addition, the Parliament says free and open source software is instrumental to reinforce ‘trust and security in digital networks, industries, services and infrastructures and in the handling of personal data’. The EP calls on the Commission “to explore an EU-wide coordinated vulnerability disclosure programme, including the repair of known software vulnerabilities, as a remedy against the abuse of software vulnerabilities and security and personal data breaches.”
Software makers should promote the security advantages of open source software to their users, the EP adds.
The Commission started a pilot project for a security audit of open source software. It starts with an inventory of all the open source tools used by the EC and EP. The ‘EU-Free and Open Source Software Auditing’ (EU-Fossa) project will then involve the open source communities and the general public, to identify which software component the EC should audit for security issues. The EU-Fossa project has a EUR 1 million budget, earmarked by the European Parliament in December 2014. It will be completed at the end of November.