The University of Skövde has conducted successful research in open source software and open standards. EU is investigating these fields and Björn Lundell, Professor of Computer Science, has been invited to Brussels as an expert.
The hosts for the meeting are the Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the Directorate General Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CONNECT). Björn Lundell is one of the invited experts to the meeting in September.
– I am very excited. This is a unique opportunity for us to inform others about the results from the research we have done and are doing. The outcome of the investigation is extremely important, and that is why it is so valuable that we can contribute with our knowledge to the current analysis.
Investigating how various positions can be united
EU´s goal with the investigation, which will end in April 2019, is to analyse the complex relationships between IT-standards and open source software to see if it would be possible to join the different development traditions, so they can co-exist and develop in symbiosis going forward. A delicate task.
– There are large differences between IT-standards and open source software, much like joining two music groups from two completely different music styles. Some things are common, while different parties have fundamentally different positions and goals. There are different ideological, business related, legal and technical traditions, for example the view on licensing software and patents for standards. EU wants to investigate how the two traditions can co-exist in the best way.
Important for democracy
Open source software is provided under licenses that are recognised by the organisation Open Source Initiative (opensource.org). Open source software gives users the freedoms to use, study, modify, copy and distribute the software for any purpose. Previous research from the University of Skövde has shown that the requirement on IT-standards to be subject to competition is not frequently adhered to by Swedish organisations, which inhibits competition in procurement processes. The EU (Simenova 2015) has estimated that open source software has contributed to the European economy with roughly SEK 5000 million.
– Many organisations are working towards the digitalization process while committing to a specific system or platform. That leads to an increased risk of losing control over information and documentation – which poses a threat to today's society and our democracy. The situation is the same in the rest of Europe. And it only underscores the importance of the investigation.