The EU Commission is making it easier to publish its self-developed software as open source. This is great news. However, in the spirit of Digital Sovereignty, the open source idea should also extend to procurement.
The European Commission continues to set the course for open source. It has recently adopted new regulations that enable its departments to publish their own developments in the form of open source software much faster and with less bureaucracy. In addition, the departments’ software developers can now contribute directly to other open source projects with their solutions.
This step is very gratifying, because the code of software developed with public funds for public administration should also be public, in principle. Then citizens, companies and other public authorities can reuse the software, which saves taxpayers’ money. What is most important, however, is that the EU Commission is strengthening open source ecosystems – and thus Europe’s digital sovereignty. After all, these ecosystems are our only chance to create a powerful european digital economy and therefore real alternatives to the big U.S. and Chinese hyperscalers.
With the decisions of the EU Commission, politicians are sending an important signal in this direction for the third time in a short period of time. The coalition agreement of the new german government also gives high priority to digital sovereignty and specifies that new developments by public authorities should generally be commissioned as open source. The new elected state government of Berlin even goes a decisive step further in its coalition agreement. It not only declares its intention to make software developed specifically for the administration available to the general public under free licenses; it also wants to specifically look for open source alternatives when procuring standard software. It is to be hoped that the EU and the Federal Republic will do the same. Only if the public sector consistently procures open source solutions wherever possible will it show that it is really serious about digital sovereignty.