Public administrations are increasingly interested in catalogues of open source applications and seem less eager to maintain their own software development sites (forges) for this sort of software. Two illustrations of this trend include the Basque Region's May announcement of a push to increase its use of open source and the decision, in the same month, of the Austrian government to move its open source repository to the EC's Joinup.
Maintenance of software catalogues could gain priority over the building and running of forges, expects Stijn Goedertier, a consultant involved in the EC's Joinup project. The expectation forms part of the basis for Joinup's work on a smarter way of describing and discovering software applications, the Asset Description Metadata Schema for Software (ADMS.SW). "Improved documentation of the software developed by or for public administrations will increase sharing and reuse. This creates a new business model for software development, from which even the private sector would benefit."
This metadata schema builds on the experiences of the Description of a Project (better known as DOAP), the Software Package Data Exchange (or SPDX), the International Standardization Organisation's Software Asset Management standard and Sourceforge's Trove software classification.
A successful metadata schema will also influence the tools used for hosting and running forges. According to Goedertier, most of the 15 forges in 7 EU Member States that are connected to Joinup use the FusionForge system. Software forges will allow to describe the software once, and then publish this metadata elsewhere.
The first version of ADMS.SW was announced on 29 June. The Joinup consultants will encourage the FusionForge community to build an ADMS.SW exporter for FusionForge. The next target could be Allura, an alternative forge system, developed and used by Sourceforge. The US-based organisation last month announced they would make future development of code for their forge independent. Sourceforge proposed to donate the project to the Apache Software Foundation.
"By moving Allura's ownership to the ASF, we make it easier for third parties to join the project and influence its future development. ADMS members are welcome to join Allura development at Apache", comments Roberto Galoppini, Sourceforge's senior director of business development.