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Open Source Software To Boost EU Economy: Report

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  • It is estimated that companies located in the EU invested around €1 billion in Open Source Software in 2018, which brought about a positive impact on the European economy of between €65 and €95 billion
  • The study predicts that an increase of 10 per cent in contributions to Open Source Software code would annually generate an additional 0.4 per cent to 0.6 per cent GDP and more than 600 additional ICT start-ups in the EU

A new report from the European Commission (EC) has bought the focus on the impact open source software (OSS) and open source hardware (OSH) could have on the European Union (EU) economy. It is estimated that companies located in the EU invested around €1 billion in Open Source Software in 2018, which brought about a positive impact on the European economy of between €65 and €95 billion.

The study predicts that an increase of 10 per cent in contributions to Open Source Software code would annually generate an additional 0.4 per cent to 0.6 per cent GDP and more than 600 additional ICT start-ups in the EU. Case studies reveal that by procuring Open Source Software instead of proprietary software, the public sector could reduce the total cost of ownership, avoid vendor lock-in and thus increase its digital autonomy.

The study gives a number of specific public policy recommendations aimed at achieving a digitally autonomous public sector, open research and innovation enabling European growth, and a digitised and internally competitive industry. In the long-term, the findings of the study may be used to reinforce the open source dimension in the development of future software and hardware policies for the EU industry.

Since October 2020 the Commission has its own new Open Source Software Strategy 2020-2023, which encourages and leverages the transformative, innovative and collaborative potential of open source, in view of achieving the goals of the overarching Digital Strategy of the Commission and contributing to the Digital Europe programme. The Commission’s Strategy puts a special emphasis on the sharing and reuse of software solutions, knowledge and expertise as well as on increasing the use of open source in information technologies and other strategic areas.

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