An the outline of the research project I am starting on… it was finally approved last week.
Models to support the migration and development of applications to an open source environment
The European Commission (EC) and many European governments are seeking to exploit the potential they perceive in Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS), both in implementing existing FLOSS applications such as OpenOffice.org and in developing new applications. The EC now has a preference for IST projects that generate or use a FLOSS solution (at at least is trying to be neutral between OSS and close-source applications). Napier University has participated in several such projects including SmartGov, HANDS and eRepresentative.
In parallel, the EC has funded a series of projects (eg CALIBRE ) and reports (eg FLOSS and FLOSSPOLS) which have examined the requirements for resources to create and support open source applications in a EU context.
At the project-level however, there seems to be a low level of awareness of the EC-funded work and how to exploit the FLOSS process. The result is that there is little perceived commitment to the wider FLOSS community, nor a perceived benefit from using FLOSS applications beyond possible savings in license fees.
I will work to understand the reasons behind this observation, contrasting the European and American experiences. The focus will be on the business and organisational motivations to support and application, not on the factors that lead to developers participating in individual projects.
The aim of this paper is to establish the factors involved, to investigate what practical support is available that projects could take advantage of and to develop a model of exploitation of FLOSS that can be used by European projects.