EU Commission adopts new rules for open source software distribution
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EU Commission adopts new rules for open source software distribution

The EU Commission Thursday adopted new rules for open-source software distribution. The move is intended to facilitate the Commission’s transmission to make its software source code publicly accessible for the benefit of public services, companies and citizens, within a shorter time period and with less paperwork.

The adoption of new rules comes close on the heels of a recent Commission study on the economic impact of open-source software and hardware on the EU economy which concluded that investment in open-source software yields four times higher returns on average.

An example of utilizing open sourcing is Legislation Editing Open Software (LEOS), an open-source tool that is used across the Commission to draft legal texts. The tool, which was originally designed for the Commission, is presently being developed in close partnership with Germany, Spain, and Greece.

Speaking about the move, Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for Budget and Administration, said:

“Open source offers great advantages in a domain where the EU can have a leading role. The new rules will increase transparency and help the Commission, as well as citizens, companies and public services across Europe, benefit from open-source software development.”

Hahn further stated that collective efforts to improve the software and to co-create new features lowers the cost for the society, before adding that it “can also enhance security as external and independent specialists check software for bugs and security flaws.”

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said:

“The Commission aims to lead Europe’s digital transition by example. With the new rules, the Commission will bring significant value to companies, start-ups, innovators, citizens and public administrations by open sourcing its software solutions. This decision will also spur innovation, building thanks to publicly available Commission code.”

The rules are in line with the Commission’s Open Source Software Strategy 2020-2023, through which it has set out the vision for leveraging the transformative potential of open source.