Open source software can be considered both a great opportunity and an
important resource. Some recommendations regarding open source
software have already been made in several
political circles in the European Union,
including the talk by Erkki Liikanen (Commissioner for Enterprise and
Information Society) given at ISSE 99 in Berlin, who said:
``[...] the solution to this problem certainly lies in non proprietary and open
source systems. This is the key to unlocking the potential of the desktop
computing security market.''
In addition, in  we can read in the paragraph about system architectures:
``by focusing on open software standards (for example building on Linux) it may be possible to spark European creativity in this area and dramatically reduce our reliance on imports.'' Some proposals have also been made to several national governments (French and Italian among others) by both politicians and research entities to study and fund open source software initiatives.
Europe has now the opportunity of participating in, and benefiting from the open source movement. European companies and developers are already a driving force in many open source projects. If open source software is able to change the rules in the information technology industry, the companies and countries which better understand it and are more advanced in its use and knowledge will have a clear competitive advantage. And in any case, in the world of open source software, any party that helps the movement in any part of the world, in addition to have clear benefits, will always help the movement as a whole.
In this context, this working group on libre software formulates the following recommendations, designed to help the community to benefit as much as possible from open source software, and to remove the barriers that could prevent the future development of open source projects. When reading such recommendations, consider that open source software is already behaving rather well from a technical point of view, both in terms of quantity and quality, competing head to head with market leaders in several niches. However, the adoption of free software by companies, organizations and individuals is going to be a slow process. By promoting free software and free software adoption, Europe can accelerate this process, and get as much benefit as possible from this new technology. therefore, consider the recommendations not as ``how to help open source software'', but ``how to help Europe to benefit from open source software''.
For better readability, we have organized the recommendations in several categories: technical issues, organization and support, legal issues, and training, promotion and explanation of benefits.