European Policies to Support Open Source Innovation

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Study: Economic impact of FLOSS on innovation and competitiveness of the EU ICT sector © 2006 MERIT. Prepared on November 20, 2006 12


Summary from


"Europe faces three scenarios:

  1. CLOSED, where existing business models are entrenched through legal and technical regulation, favouring a passive consumer model over new businesses supporting active participation in an information society of prosumers;
  2. GENERIC, where current mixed policies lead to a gradual growth of FLOSS while many of the opportunities it presents are missed;
  3. VOLUNTARY, where policies and the market develop to recognise and utilise the potential of FLOSS and similar collaborative models

of creativity to harness the full power of active citizens in the information society. (

Policy Recommendations

"Policy strategies focus mainly on correcting current policies and practices that implicitly or explicitly favour proprietary software:

o Avoid penalising FLOSS in innovation and R&D incentives, public R&D funding and public software procurement that is currently often anti-competitive

o Support FLOSS in pre-competitive research and standardisation

o Avoid lifelong vendor lock-in in educational systems by teaching students skills, not specific applications; encourage participation in FLOSS-like communities

o Encourage partnerships between large firms, SMEs and the FLOSS community

o Provide equitable tax treatment for FLOSS creators: FLOSS software contributions can be treated as charitable donations for tax purposes. Where this is already possible, spread awareness among firms, contributors and authorities.

o Explore how unbundling between hardware and software can lead to a more competitive market and ease forms of innovation that are not favoured by vertical integration." (