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Open Source as a Key to European Leadership in the Next Wave of Digitisation

Open Source as a Key to European Leadership in the Next Wave of Digitisation

Stefane Fermigier

February 03, 2022

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  1. Stéfane Fermigier

    Co-founder & Chairman @ APELL | Co-founder & Co-Chairman @ CNLL | Founder & CEO @ Abilian
    Open Source as a Key to European Leadership

    in the Next Wave of Digitisation

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  2. • Founded in 2020

    • Members = European Industry associations mostly representing
    the commercial open source ecosystem in their respective
    European nation states

    • Current members are: France, Germany, Finland, Sweden,
    Portugal, UK, Netherland, Italy.

    • + Associate members: currently OpenForum Europe

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  3. The European Open Source Market

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  4. https://cnll.fr/media/2019_CNLL-Syntec-Systematic-Open-Source-Study.pdf

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  5. Source: EC study on the Impact of OSS/OSH (Sept. 2021)

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  6. Source: EC study on the Impact of OSS/OSH (Sept. 2021)

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  7. Digital Sovereignty

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  9. A de
    nition for Digital Sovereignty
    "Digital sovereignty" has been de
    ned by the French
    General Secretariat for Defense and National Security
    (SGDSN) in the 2018 Strategic Cyber Defense Review
    (p. 93) as:
    a strategic autonomy in which, without seeking to do
    everything internally, it is a matter of preserving an
    autonomous capacity for assessment, decision and
    action in the digital space.

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  10. Leveraging Open Source to regain digital
    sovereignty in Europe

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  11. F/OSS and Digital Sovereignty according to the Commission
    In its Oct 2020 open source plan (“Think open”), the Commission
    notes that "the open source model has an impact on Europe's
    digital autonomy. It is likely to give Europe a chance to create and
    maintain its own independent digital approach to the digital giants in
    the cloud and allow it to retain control over its processes,
    information and technology.”

    But no mention of an underlying industrial strategy or promotion of the
    private sector.

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  12. This is not entirely unheard of (in principle)
    • SGDSN: "an industrial strategy based on open source,
    provided that it is part of a thoughtful commercial
    approach, can enable French or EU companies to re-gain
    market share and thereby enable France and the EU to
    regain sovereignty.”

    • A. de Montchalin, France’s Minister of Public Service: “By
    accompanying administrations so that they use open
    source to the best of their ability, I hope that the Free
    Software Mission will support the French and European
    economic players in this ecosystem, in particular by taking
    better account of the criterion of transparency of source
    codes in public procurement”

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  13. European Commission - DIGIT’s OSPO
    • The European Commission launched in October 2020 its “think open" plan
    which aims to "develop software solutions, [taking] into account openness,
    sharing and reuse, security, privacy, legal issues and accessibility".

    • But this plan, whose quality and intentions we welcome, is nonetheless
    limited to the internal IT of the EU institutions, and insu
    cient for the
    current challenges.

    • We believe it must be coordinated with a real economic policy
    aiming to develop European open source software publishers and
    integrators, and to support them against the in
    uence of foreign
    software and cloud players

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  14. We need to do more, now
    • Enforce existing regulations “encouraging”, “preferring” or
    “mandating” the use of F/OSS in the public administration, add
    missing ones

    • French MP Philippe Latombe: “The State must by default use free
    software. The only constraint that the State understands is the
    normative one, i.e. when it’s imposed by the Parliament.”

    • Finance both innovative and maintenance work, using the proper
    nancial tools

    • Promote the F/OSS ecosystem, including the EU business sector

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  15. Proposed strategic plan (1/5)
    Establish speci
    c Open Source strategies at EU-level, and in
    each EU country, focussed on boosting economic growth,
    innovation and digital sovereignty

    • OSPOs everywhere + network of OSPOs

    • Engagement with the F/OSS EU business ecosystems should be
    explicit in their mission

    • One of the OSPOs’ KPIs should be to explicitly increase the
    proportion of F/OSS in IT purchasing by the public administration
    they are working for

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  16. Proposed strategic plan (2/5)
    Prioritising Open Source in software procurement by the
    public and private sectors in a way that it becomes
    impossible to create insurmountable vendor dependence

    • Ensure that proper, direct contractualisation with F/OSS SMEs is
    possible and regularly activated

    • Ensure that large support contracts, which are usually awarded
    to large IT companies, provide enough value to SME that create
    and maintain the software they support

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  17. Proposed strategic plan (3/5)
    Promote investment in OSS

    • Increase the proportion of F/OSS (and OSH…) projects in R&D and
    nancing and make it easier for SMEs to

    • more general tax incentives for Open Source contributions

    • Increasing public funding of speci
    c and strategic Open
    Source projects, particularly for small and medium-sized
    companies, through existing programmes and new initiatives

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  18. Proposed strategic plan (4/5)
    Education and training

    Place Open Source at the heart of digital skills strategies
    and computer science education across Europe, with the
    aim of boosting innovation in the long term

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  19. Proposed strategic plan (5/5)
    Level the playing
    eld for F/OSS

    • Promote F/OSS, either speci
    cally (e.g. directories of existing solutions and
    technologies) or in the context of existing promotion schemes for the tech
    sector (e.g. “La French Tech”)

    • Increase awareness around F/OSS in the education and higher education

    • Ensure adequate legal frameworks: interoperability requirements, public
    procurement regulations, no software patents, GDPR, etc.

    • Keep the in
    uence of “big tech” companies at bay with proper regulations
    and by being present in the relevant standardisation bodies

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