Free and/or open source software (FOSS) represents a potential of significant competitiveness gains of its adopters, both for public administrations as well as citizens and companies. As a result, it is of vital importance to examine how and whether appropriate public policies can alleviate barriers and inhibitors rendering the potential benefits of FOSS actual ones and enhancing the competitiveness of European economies.
Public administrations can play a unique role as a catalyst force in demonstrating the value of FOSS and in removing legal and organisational obstacles and inhibitors by acting as early adopters. OSEPA aims to explore this potential through interregional cooperation and to cultivate a debate among public administrations in this direction with a view to:
• Analyse, promote knowledge and foster awareness on the main benefits and disadvantages, cost evidence and effectiveness resulting from FOSS adoption and use.
• Explore, identify, build consensus on the framework conditions enabling FOSS to become a technically, financially, legally viable alternative offering of IT solutions.
• Explore, identify, build consensus on and promote European, national and regional policies and approaches that may facilitate the emergence of FOSS as a mature and viable business model.
• Promote awareness, exchange and disseminate knowledge, good practice and case studies regarding technical, financial and legal aspects of FOSS adoption by European public administrations in order to reduce uncertainty, inertia and resistance-to-change that limit experimentation and adoption of FOSS software.
• Discuss and promote the adoption of internal policies, mission statements, methodologies and action plans facilitating European public administrations to experiment, exploit and benefit from FOSS solutions.
The project dissemination activities will promote awareness on FOSS and on OSEPA activities targeting
• relevant segments of the public opinion and
• Officers and elected representatives of local regional and national administrations.