Recommendation by the FSF Europe and supporting parties for the 6th EU framework programme
Georg C. F. Greve
greve at fsfeurope.org
Mon Apr 29 23:53:22 UTC 2002
[ http://fsfeurope.org/documents/fp6/ ]
Recommendation by the
and more than 40 European
companies, organizations, research centers and projects
for the 6th EU framework programme
Free Software is a concept that has fundamentally changed the way some
parts of the IT sector are working towards a more stable, lasting and
sustainable approach with higher dynamics and increased efficiency. It
is obvious that the first region to adopt and support this principle
on a larger scale can profit enormously and get a head-start in the
This document explains some of the reasons why Free Software should be
included in the considerations on the 6th European Community framework
programme 2002-2006 and gives input on how this could be done.
Free Software -- sometimes also referred to as ``Libre software'' or
``Open Source Software'' -- is best defined by the following four
* 1. freedom: The freedom to run the program, for any purpose.
* 2. freedom: The freedom to study how the program works, and
adapt it to your needs. Access to the source code is a
precondition for this.
* 3. freedom: The freedom to redistribute copies.
* 4. freedom: The freedom to improve the program, and release your
improvements to the public, so that the whole community
benefits. Access to the source code is a precondition for
For reasons that can be found online , this document will use Free
Software as the preferred term.
The ability of any region, country or person to participate in the
information age will be largely determined by access to and control
over key technologies and networks.
As a result of the proprietary software model, we are currently in a
situation where almost the whole European information technologies
industry is dependent on an oligopoly of U.S. software
companies. Viewed from the European perspective, such a situation is
highly unstable and unfavorable.
Not coincidentally, the only true exception to this, the internet, is
largely run on Free Software.
Recognizing the usefulness and importance of Free Software for the
future of Europe, the Information Society Technologies (IST) research
programme of the European Commission has shown increasting interest in
Free Software over the past years. An example of this was the ``2001
action line Free Software development: towards critical mass'' within
the 5th European European Community framework programme. Consequently,
Free Software is also found in the ``Work Programme 2002'' of the IST.
Free Software provides an alternative model for information technology
with significant advantages for numerous objectives and areas
specified in the Proposal for the 6th European Commission framework
Even if these are sometimes hard to quantify, it is clear that Europe
could greatly benefit from increased employment of Free Software in
* Greater independence
* Increased sustainability
* Freedom from foreign mono- and oligopolies
* Alternative hard- and software possibilities
* Strengthened domestic market and local industries
* Better cooperation between research and economy
* Encouraged transdisciplinary research
* Better protection of civil rights
Free Software is clearly a model of the future and Europe already has
an increasingly vibrant Free Software scene unrivaled anywhere in the
world. This gives Europe a very unique chance to capitalize on the
benefits of Free Software and get a head-start into the knowledge
For a more detailed and explanatory reasoning, please see section
We  recommend that for all activities within the 6th European
Commission framework programme, Free Software becomes the preferred
and recommended choice.
We suggest that the programme and projects should monitor and report
on the share of the funding used for results released under a Free
Software or Free Documentation license. In certain areas like the IST
programme or fundamental research, the objective must be set that this
share is at least 50% of the budget used to produce software or
As other ways of increasing the European edge, we furthermore
In some areas -- ``eEurope'' or fundamental scientific research
being two examples -- it would be advisable to enforce the
advantages offered by Free Software by explicitly and
exclusively calling for projects that will release their results
under a Free Software and/or Free Documentation license.
Preference in evaluation
As a general criterion it would be in the interest of Europe
that projects making their results available under a Free
Software (and -- possibly -- Free Documentation) license 
should receive a positive score in the evaluation process,
giving them an advantage over comparable projects not offering
this increased European value.
Additional positive scores in the evaluation process should be
granted to projects employing ``Copylefted'' Free Software 
and projects taking steps to ensure the enduring availability
and legal maintainability of the Free Software created through
copyright assignments  to appropriate institutions.
The preference and recommendation for Free Software should be
added in the guidelines for evaluators, the policy documents and
the documents explaining the rules of participation for project
Although Free Software is per se available to any organization,
person or company, the European Commission should seek to inform
and encourage local companies about and to Free Software,
building up the expertise fundamentally necessary for the
 Please see http://fsfeurope.org/documents/whyfs.en.html
 The Free Software Foundation Europe and parties supporting this
recommendation. Information about the FSF Europe and the list of
supporting parties can be found at
 See http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html
 Copylefted Free Software not only offers the four freedoms quoted
above, it also protects them. The most successful and best-known
Copyleft license is the ``GNU General Public License'' of the Free
Software Foundation, under which more than 50% of all Free Software is
 Transferral of exclusive exploitation rights in countries
following the ``Droit d'Auteur'' tradition.
More information about the Discussion