09 Dec 2021
Commission adopts new rules on Open Source Software
On 8 December 2021, the European Commission (EC) adopted new rules on Open Source Software. According to the EC, these new rules will enable its software solutions to be publicly accessible whenever there are potential benefits for citizens, companies or other public services. A recent EC study on the impact of Open Source Software and Hardware on technological independence, competitiveness and innovation in the EU economy showed that investment in open source leads on average to four times higher returns. The Commission services will be able to publish the software source code they own in much shorter time and with less paperwork.
The Commission announced that it will make its software available as open source in one single repository to facilitate access and reuse. Before its release, each software will be checked to avoid security or confidentiality-related risks, data protection issues or infringement to intellectual property rights of third parties.
With this decision, many actions will be facilitated and improved:
- The dissemination of software under an open source licence will no longer require a Commission Decision.
- Where possible, Commission services will progressively review all software developed prior to the adoption of these new rules and identify the ones that have the potential to bring value outside the Commission.
- The Commission now allows its software developers to contribute to open source projects with improvements that they developed as part of their work.
This decision was taken within the framework of the EU's digital strategy, which aims to make digital transformation work for people and businesses, while helping to achieve its target of a climate-neutral Europe The rules follow the Commission's Open Source Software Strategy 2020-2023, which under the theme ‘Think Open', has set out a vision for encouraging and leveraging the transformative, innovative and collaborative power of open source, its principles and development practices. The Strategy contributes to the goals of the overarching Digital Strategy of the Commission and the Digital Europe programme.
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