The European Commission is to open a new web portal to facilitate the use of shared open source software across the public sector.
The EC said that the sharing and reuse of applications can have a significant economic impact, as public administrations can save on investments and rely on each other's expertise.
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The commission has selected a consortium led by Unisys Belgium to create and manage the Open Source Observatory and Repository (OSOR).
The consortium consists of Unisys Belgium, the Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology, GOPA Cartermill and the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos.
The internet portal will allow European administrations to store centrally and share the software code of their open source applications and exchange open source knowledge.
The aim is to enable the European member states’administrations to improve the return on their IT investments and make their applications more interoperable.
OSOR is a common repository where, in addition to the source and object code, information is available regarding the use of applications, different software versions, open source licences or contract material.
On the OSOR web portal, member states’ administrations will also be able to share know-how about their different open source applications.
The European Commission anticipates that OSOR will encourage European administrations to use each other's software and develop common projects – for example, in public e-procurement, interoperability between government applications or mutual recognition of the various e-ID card formats.
The format of the OSOR will be determined this year, and the service is expected to be operational in late 2007.
Unisys will promote the OSOR service and will look for relevant open source applications to add to the OSOR and support collaboration between different European open source projects.