In 20 years of EU digital policy in Brussels, I have seen growing awareness and recognition among policymakers in Europe of the importance of open source software (OSS). A recent keynote by EU internal market commissioner Thierry Breton at the annual EU Open Source Policy Summit in February provides another example—albeit with a sense of urgency and strategic opportunity that has been largely missing in the past.
Commissioner Breton did more than just recognize the “long list of [OSS] success stories.” He also underscored OSS’s critical role in accelerating Europe’s €750 billion recovery and the goal to further “embed open source” into Europe’s longer-term policy objectives in the public sector and other key industrial sectors.
In addition to the commissioner’s celebration that “Linux is powering the internet,” there was a policy-related call to action to expand the OSS value proposition to many other areas of digital sovereignty. Indeed, with only 2.5 years of EU Commission mandate remaining, there is a welcome sense of urgency. I see three possible reasons for this: 1. fresh facts and figures, 2. compelling policy commitments, and 3. game-changing investment opportunities for Europe.