A survey of European OSS research projects

The EU has for a long time supported research on open source software, first with the creation of the European Working Group on Libre Software, by sponsoring studies and research and through various EU branches, like IDABC (the Interoperable Delivery of European eGovernment Services to public Administrations, Businesses and Citizens). Among the most interesting activities:
IDABC OSS observatory: a long term activity, that provides news and information on OSS with a focus on Public Administrations. It provides news, a software repository, a taxonomy of software applications, a list of OSS competence centers, and several resources and papers related to legal and adoption processes for Public Administrations.
The IST research area of the Commission has a long history of research in OSS, including past projects like SPIRIT (open source healthcare) or the FLOSS study (one of the first longitudinal study of OSS participation and development). More recently, projects like COSPA researched the real costs of migration of public administrations to OSS, and provided the data for later research like the EU study “Economic impact of open source software on innovation and the competitiveness of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector in the EU” that had a significant impact. Other significant projects were CALIBRE (open source in industrial applications) and EDOS (Environment for the development and Distribution of Open Source software).
Several new projects focusing on OSS software quality were funded, like SQO-OSS, FLOSSMETRICS and QUALOSS, collectively grouped on a coordinated initiative called FLOSSQUALITY. While in the beginning the Commission was more interested in “stimulating” OSS production in under-represented areas (especially those that are more relevant for EU at large, like embedded systems, security, development tools like TOPCASED) now most research is devoted to other areas like economic impact and business models, along with the many projects that are using OSS licenses to disseminate the results to a wider population.
This is just a small outline of the most recent activities, and I will provide a small summary of the results of individual projects in future posts.

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