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10 Principles for Open Source Software on Joinup

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The information on this site is subject to a disclaimer, a copyright and rules related to personal data protection, each in line with the general European Commission legal notice, and terms of use.

Principle 1

Joinup and its services are exclusively reserved for the exchange and collaboration on Open Source Software. This means that software or projects that are not released under recognized Open Source Software licences will not be admitted on Joinup, or will be removed as the case may be. The Open Source character of software is defined in the licence, where the software author(s) or “Licensor” ensures a number of freedoms to the licensee:

  • Freedom to use or run it for any purpose and any number of users
  • Freedom to study how the software works. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  • Freedom to share, (redistribute) copies of the software
  • Freedom to modify, adapt, improve the software according to specific needs and to share (redistribute) these modifications. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

The use of the EUPL licence, which is available in all official European languages and was especially written for use by public sector in Europe, comes highly recommended. However, any other licence that is recognized by the OSI (Open Source Initiative), or the FSF (Free Software Foundation) will be accepted.

Principle 2

Joinup is reserved for software and projects that are of particular use for public administrations in Europe, and/or produced by the public sector.When describing the project, the provider should explain the link of the project with the public sector (is it owned, sponsored, funded in research program, aimed to…) and explain why it may be useful for other public administrations. This represents a wide array of possible applications. The reference to public administrations is not exclusive of other usages: for example a Geographical Information System may be considered as “answering to public sector needs” (road making etc.), even if it can also be useful for private purpose (home building, truck or property management etc.). Joinup taxonomy will help project owners to categorise their project according to public sector needs.The fact that specific sectors (games, entertainment, religion, genealogy etc.) are not present in the taxonomy may be an indication that related projects are not targeted to answer to public sector needs.The reference to Europe is not exclusive either: Joinup welcomes projects that are initiated and could be downloaded and used everywhere, provide they may be useful to public administrations in Europe.The project owner can be a public administration, however it can be any other person (individual, association, company) developing software that is of particular use for public administrations.

Principle 3

Joinup is freely and publicly accessible . Everybody can access Joinup and contribute to hosted projects. Everybody can submit a project. Joinup management will avoid bureaucracy. No ex-ante authorisation will be necessary to participate. Respect of Joinup principles will be checked ex-post by the community of Joinup users and stakeholders.However, for the use of certain functionalities, submitting a project or contributing to a specific project, authentication will be required. Due to the sensitivity of certain public sector projects, It may happen that a specific project owner will temporarily restrict the contribution to a restricted group of developers. This will be the decision of that specific project owner (and not of Joinup management). When accepting to share your work with other people, it is recommended not to restrict access more than it is strictly necessary.

Principle 4

Distributing software under an open source licence, such as the EUPL implies that the rights granted by the licence should be royalty-free. As a consequence, all projects hosted by Joinup shall be free of royalties. This does not restrict the optional merchantability of additional services related to the software, for example providing consultancy or support for implementation or maintenance. Such services must stay optional, and may not become a condition for downloading, using or modifying the software.

Principle 5

The provider must be the author, the copyright owner or have a valid license for all that is being communicated. The provider will provide the material in readable/revisable form using open standards and open formats and will be responsible to publish (or link to) the licensing terms that are applicable. This is the main guarantee that needs to be provided to all other Joinup users, in order to avoid later intellectual property issues.If the software to be released was entirely written by the provider (or by the employees of the provider's organisation, i.e. the legal entity that will release the software), then the provider should normally own the exclusive copyright on the software. In any other situation, the provider needs to check who wrote the software (or any part of it) and under what terms (or licence, or service contract) the provider is allowed to reproduce it in the software and distribute it on Joinup.If the software was written for the provider by contractors, the provider may have the right to reuse and re-distribute it, or may even own the software exclusively - this depends on the terms of the service contract under which the software was written.The software should be provided in readable/revisable form using preferably open standards or formats. If the software is distributed as a binary package (object code), the readable source code, or link to a repository where this source code is available should be communicated.The licensing terms (or link to) that are applicable to your software or to its various components should also be published. It may happen that the “software solution” that is distributed is made from several components, each of them with different licensing conditions.

Principle 6

If the user downloads, uses or modifies the work that was put on the Repository by other persons, the user should always search for, read and adhere to the terms of the related licence.When adding contributions, as the case may be, it is possible that own copyright marks are added, in particular if this contribution is especially important, however, users should never change existing copyright marks or licensing terms.

Principle 7

When redistributing to other persons the material found on the Repository, users will apply the original licensing conditions if it is requested by the provider that re-distribution under the same licensing terms is compulsory. While all Free/Libre Open Source Software licences authorise redistribution of the licensed software, several licences are “copyleft”, meaning that if a re-distribution is done, this must be under the same licensing terms.

Principle 8

No one shall make a commercial use of the Joinup platform, or use it for any kind of advertisement related to private and / or profitable services.This rule applies even when some software that will be available on the Repository may also or eventually be used for commercial purposes, or generates an ecosystem of commercial services. As a project owner or the author of a software, it is possible to inform the Joinup users about contact details and possibly display of the logo in appropriate format and reasonable resolution.It is permitted to link Joinup to any other web site which may be commercial or offer services such as the ones mentioned in Principle 4.However, it is absolutely non permitted that any advertising material is published on the Joinup pages (including project pages).

Principle 9

When facilitating the distribution of the work, Joinup is not responsible and does not provide any guarantee related to this work. As the project owner and the licensor, you are the sole responsible of your work, and will comply with intellectual property rights, criminal law, data privacy, statutory product liability and any other legal requirement. This is self-explanatory: when opening a project, the provider is responsible for its content. The principle of transparency (publication of the source code, under scrutiny of a wide community) should reinforce security and the evidence that source code contains no malicious software, virus, etc. Joinup does not control or validate the content of your project. The publication and distribution of a project on Joinup is not, per se, a certification or label of quality. They are specialised services for obtaining such certification or label.

Principle 10

Users and providers should consider all requests or recommendations from the Joinup Web master concerning the content of the work (or “project pages”). This authority can also remove / put off line all projects, pages or texts that appear – whether originally or later – to be contrary to the Joinup principles. Joinup is not bureaucratic. It is open to everyone, according to the present Principles. However, if it appears even after some time, that the software or the content that was published should be adapted to comply with those principles, the Joinup web master may request the modification or removal of the content in question.The Joinup web master can also make the unilateral decision to remove / put off line or set “not visible” any web page or project, after notifying the project owner and justifying such decision. Joinup will not be liable for any damage in such case.

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