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Open Source software usage by European Public Administrations (OSEPA)
Start date: Dec 31, 2009, End date: Dec 30, 2012 PROJECT  FINISHED 

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 FOSSto 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. Achievements: In the context of the OSEPA project, twelve good practices on FOSS usage have been identified and described in the 1st version of the OSEPA Good Practice Guide. The guide will be updated with further Good Practices by September 2012. The OSEPA team has also developed: •A concise guide on FOSS procurement for EPAs •Technical efficiency guidelines for selecting between and among FOSS and proprietary SW solutions •A report on the impact of FOSS on business models and strategies •A Policy Recommendation Paper •A report on the economic foundation of FOSS and major market trends •An analysis on current situation on FOSS European and national policies and practices •A report on License Issues •Qualitative and Quantitative analysis based on the results of the survey on FOSS usage that was executed in 19 EU countries •Synthesized assessment report for the Study Visits •Synthesized assessment report for the Workshops •Synthesized assessment report for the Site Visits. All of the OSEPA outputs have been published at the project website and can be found at: Furthermore, by June 2012, eight interregional workshops, six study visits, four site visits, and two EU Conferences were organized by the consortium to facilitate the exchange of experience among the partners, the politicians, and the FOSS experts involved. Topics such as licensing, transferring of good practices, human aspects, initiatives that utilize FOSS to run commercial development projects, and, of course, FOSS economic benefits have been analyzed. A conference also took place in Extremadura of Spain where the strategic and policy making aspects of administrations transition to FOSS was explored. The Conference gathered high profile experts, elected representatives and IT managers of public administrations, as well as delegates from competence centers and FOSS developers and communities. The role model region of Extremadura of Spain roll out its knowledge, experience and enthusiasm to other EU regions and municipalities. The conference resulted in the signing of a Manifesto which outlines the main advantages of FOSS in PAs and establishes the commitment of the signatories to promote FOSS awareness. Between 28th and 29th of March '12, the 2nd OSEPA conference took place in the town of Jihlava (CZ). The conference explored the strategic impact of FOSS adoption and in relation to the environment and potential of EPAs. On the whole, the conference covered a broad spectrum of topics and offered a balance of technical and non-technical topics: legal and economic aspects, licensing issues, best practices and case studies, interoperability, compatibility, e-government, data access and security, cloud computing, personnel training, drivers and inhibitors, open source solutions, open source communities and developers. The driving forces and inhibitors influencing open source software adoption as well as the benefits, the drawbacks and the potential for EPAs to migrate to open source software were clarified and discussed. Moreover, the perspectives, the requirements, the challenges, and the opportunities in the use of FOSS by EPA's were discussed. During the Conference a FOSS Policy Statement was released to the participants aiming to gather support signatories with the objective to influence relevant policy makers and make FOSS a recognized and viable alternative of software procurement.
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