The European Commission is making its software open source to benefit society

The European Commission building

The European Commission has announced that it’s adopting new rules around open source software which will see it release software under open source licenses. The decision follows a Commission study that found investment in open source software leads on average to four times higher returns. There has also been a push for this type of action from the Public Money, Public Code campaign.

If you’re wondering what sort of code the EC could offer to the world, it gave two examples. First, there’s its eSignature, a set of free standards, tools, and services that can speed up the creation and verification of electronic signatures that are legally valid inside the EU. Another example is LEOS (Legislation Editing Open Software) which is used to draft legal texts.

Commenting on the new rules, Commissioner for Budget and Administration Johannes Hahn 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. Pooling of efforts to improve the software and the co-creation of new features lowers costs for the society, as we also benefit from the improvements made by other developers. This can also enhance security as external and independent specialists check software for bugs and security flaws.”

The introduction of these rules comes just a week after the new German government said it will embrace the notion of Public Money, Public Code. As time goes on, we could see other European countries follow suit and open source their code too.

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