Open Source Software

The work on Open Source Software (OSS) by the Danish government is carried out by the Centre of Excellence for Open Source and Open Standards (CEOSOS).

The Danish government’s Software Strategy published in 2003 forms the basis for all work on OSS in Denmark. The strategy’s main purpose is to ensure competition, quality and coherence in public IT-solutions. In Denmark, there is not tradition for legislating in the IT-area. Instead, most work, including that concerning OSS, is carried out by means of common interest in the Danish public sector.

What is Open Source?

Simply put, "Open Source" means that the user has free access to the source code of the software.

A range of different licenses to regulate software exists, but generally a distinction is made between closed source licenses and open source licenses. Usually, the former does not permit modification and distribution of the software, while the latter does. A prerequisite for modification and distribution is access to the source code hence the name "open source".

Open source licenses usually provide software free of charge, but open source is not free when you look at total cost of ownership. As with closed source software, implementation, running costs and services add to the total costs. However, it is an advantage of open source software that because of the open the source code it is possible to modify the code and develop the software further.

What is the difference between open source and open standards?

Open source software is a type of software where everybody has access to the software source code and can freely use, modify and distribute the software. Thus open source concerns the code the software is made of.

Open standards denotes that content standards and standards for communication and content exchange with other systems are open and have technical specifications which are accessible free of charge. Thus open standards concerns content and communication between software.