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OW2Con 2021: How public policies can contribute to the sustainability of the European open source ecosystem (and why they should)

OW2Con 2021: How public policies can contribute to the sustainability of the European open source ecosystem (and why they should)

Video available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YWMbBn7VI4

APELL is a federation of national open source business associations in Europe, founded in 2020, in order to increase opportunities for the members of the Association’s member organisations (i.e. European business), and to increase value and advancement for the ultimate customers in both the public and the private sectors. APELL acts as a network for the exchange of best practices between its national member associations, as a think tank on national and European public policies concerning Free Software, and as an interlocutor for the European institutions concerned by these policies. For APELL, European digital sovereignty, claimed by the highest leaders of the Union, requires the development of the European F/OSS industry and the ecosystems that surround it. Public procurement rules, support for collaborative R&D, but also the creation and respect of rules (interoperability, respect of human rights...) allowing European companies to remain or become competitive, are part of the instruments that Europe must put in place for this. Since the publication of the European open source strategy in 2019, and in particular the creation of an European OSPO, APELL and its national member associations have been working to ensure that F/OSS and open standards remain at the heart of the main European initiatives on these subjects (e.g. Digital Markets Act, Data Act, OSPOs everywhere, Bothorel Report in France, GAIA-X, etc.). APELL and its member associations also intend to play an active role in promoting European F/OSS companies, as well as F/OSS projects and products of European origin. This presentation will be an opportunity to take stock of:

- The European political and economic context around F/OSS, both at the EU and Member State level

- APELL's values, objectives and current actions in relation to this context.

Stefane Fermigier

June 23, 2021

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  1. Stéfane Fermigier Co-founder and board members, APELL Also co-founder and

    co-president, CNLL, and open source entrepreneur since 2000 How public policies can contribute to the sustainability of the European open source ecosystem (and why they should) OW2Con 2021
  2. • Founded in 2020 • Members = European Industry associations

    mostly representing the commercial open source ecosystem in their respective European nation states • Current members in: FR, DE, FI, SW, PT, UK. • + Associate members: currently OpenForum Europe
  3. The current context in the EU • F/OSS as an

    engine for economic growth and jobs creation • F/OSS and digital sovereignty • Some existing policies
  4. A definition for Digital Sovereignty "Digital sovereignty" has been defined

    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. http://www.sgdsn.gouv.fr/uploads/2018/02/20180206-np-revue-cyber-public-v3.3-publication.pdf
  5. F/OSS and DS according to the Commission In its Oct

    2020 open source plan, 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." https://ec.europa.eu/info/departments/informatics/open-source-software-strategy_en
  6. CNLL’s 2021 survey Based on a survey of 134 business

    leaders in the French open source sector: • 93.1% of industry leaders believe that digital sovereignty should be a priority for the economic and democratic future of France and Europe. • But only 29.3% of respondents believe that France is implementing an open source industrial strategy to regain digital sovereignty. • 88.3% of respondents believe that the key principles of open source can help preserve the digital sovereignty of France and Europe Source: https://cnll.fr/media/etude-cnll-2021.pdf
  7. Digital Sovereignty can be a driver for open source growth

    • 43.2% of French open source companies confirm that their customers recognise open source as a factor of sovereignty • 29.8% have signed new customers on these grounds. • Explaining the added value of open source in terms of sovereignty still requires some pedagogy. Source: https://cnll.fr/media/etude-cnll-2021.pdf ➜ The EU, the State and the regions must define and implement an open source industrial strategy, helping players to become actively involved in the ecosystem, in order to acquire a sovereignty that is also a force (economic, decision-making...) to assert democratic, social and environmental values.
  8. European Commission • 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 insufficient 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 influence of foreign software and cloud players https://ec.europa.eu/info/departments/informatics/open-source-software-strategy_en
  9. France - Before 2021 • Circulaire Ayrault (2012): “[…] it

    is now possible to retain a series of guidelines and recommendations on the proper use of free software. These demonstrated in particular the advantages of free software (lower cost, flexibility of use, negotiation leverage with software vendors).” • Loi République Numérique (2016): “[Public administrations] take care to preserve the control, the durability and the independence of their information systems. They encourage the use of free software and open formats […]” Tactical considerations Strategic considerations
  10. France - 2021 • Mission Logiciels Libres (State OSPO) created

    by the Circulaire Castex in April, with action plan: • “Develop and facilitate the publication of the administration's source code under an open source licence; • Make better use of open source software in the administration, an action carried out via the "promotion of open source software for administrations" project of the LABEL mission; • Use open source to make the administration more attractive to digital talent, an action carried out by the TALENTS mission.” • (Do you notice what’s lacking ?)
  11. Member states - Germany • Center for digital Sovereignty (ZenDiS)

    • “The initial focus of ZenDiS shall be on the promotion of OSS in public administration“ • Deutsche Verwaltungscloud Strategie (Strategy for a German Government Cloud) • Focus on open standards and a distributed, federated system, does not mention Open Source explicitly, however • Three Länder have an explicit preference for F/OSS in the public administration: Schleswig-Holstein, Bremen and Thuringia.
  12. Members States - Others • Italy: law mandating the use

    of open source software by the public administration passed in 2012, with zero impact. The public administration in Italy is now mostly a Microsoft shop. • Sweden: the Agency for Digital Government (DIGG) has published the following policy: “Software that is developed/procured by the agency shall in the normal case be published as open source.”
  13. What needs to be done at the political level ?

    And how do we achieve this ?
  14. Survey results (CNLL, 2021) The development of an open source

    European industry, and regulations that encourage the purchase of European F/OSS products and services, particularly from SMEs (“Small Business Act”), are priority levers for regaining sovereignty Promote local purchasing of French and European open source solutions through regulatory tools Support the development of strong European open source companies offering alternative to the hyperscalers Reserve a part of the public order for European SMEs in the free digital sector (Small Business Act) Train more French and European talents in free and open source digital technologies
  15. 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: “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”
  16. What should be done ? • Enforce existing regulations “encouraging”,

    “preferring” or “mandating” the use of F/OSS in the public administration, add missing ones • Promote the F/OSS ecosystem, including the EU business sector • Finance both innovative and maintenance work, using the proper financial tools
  17. Proposed strategic plan (1/3) Double down on OSPOs • 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
  18. Proposed strategic plan (2/3) Finance open source work • Increase

    the proportion of F/OSS (and OSH…) projects in R&D and Innovation financing • 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 • Develop explicit funding schemes for infrastructure software when the contractualisation schemes above are not an option
  19. Proposed strategic plan (3/3) Level the playing field for F/OSS

    • Promote F/OSS, either specifically (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 curricula • Ensure adequate legal frameworks: interoperability requirements, public procurement regulations, no software patents, GDPR, etc. • Keep the influence of “big tech” companies at bay
  20. APELL’s current plans • Upcoming joint publication of an article

    exposing our vision and propositions • National organisations (e.g. CNLL, OSBA…) have been doing this for quite some time • Online event with EU representatives • Push the item on the French presidency’s agenda (S1 2022)
  21. More information • APELL’s website: https://www.apell.info/ • CNLL’s studies and

    manifestos: https://cnll.fr/ publications/ • OSBA's publications: https://osb-alliance.de/news/ publikationen • Contact (me): [email protected] or @sfermigier on Twitter