Leading European, Brazilian and Chinese information and communications technology (ICT) players announced mid March that they have joined forces to launch QualiPSo, a quality platform to foster the development and use of Open Source software to help their industries in the global race for growth.
The aim of QualiPSo is to help industries and governments fuel innovation and competitiveness in today’s and tomorrow’s global environment by providing the way to use trusted low-cost, flexible Open Source software to develop innovative and reliable information systems. To meet that goal, QualiPSo will define and implement the technologies, processes and policies to facilitate the development and use of Open Source software components, with the same level of trust traditionally offered by proprietary software. The initiative will support the development of local ICT industries – from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and independent software vendors (ISVs) to large ICT providers and systems integrators in Europe, Brazil and China – and help establish European leadership in domains such as distributed middleware.
The 20 founding members, across Europe, Brazil and China, are a heavyweight group of ICT industry players (Atos Origin, Bull, Engineering Ingegneria Informatica, European Dynamics, Siemens, Telefonica I+D, Thales), SMEs (Centro Ricerche Matematica Pura e Applicata, Mandriva), governments (the Department for innovation and technologies of the Italian Presidency of the Council of ministers, the French Gendarmerie Nationale, SERPRO), and academics (Fraunhofer FOKUS, INRIA, the Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Center, the State University of Sao Paulo, the South China University of Technology / Guangzhou Middleware Research Center, the University of Bozen, the University of Insubria and the University Rey Juan Carlos). The project is funded by the European Commission under its sixth framework program (FP6), as part of the Information Society Technologies (IST) initiative.
QualiPSo’s launch comes at a time when major industries have experienced the power of Open Source software to accelerate the development of global, low-cost and reliable information systems, but are waiting for ultimate proof of trust to definitively commit to large-scale deployment. By providing the prerequisites for trust – from the legal, technical and business points of view – QualiPSo will definitely foster Open Source software deployment for business competitiveness and growth, in areas such as e-government, media, telecoms, manufacturing, distribution and finance.
The software and services industry in Europe employs more than one million people and accounts for five to six per cent of European GDP. It is also rapidly growing in Brazil and China. IT analysts estimate that Open Source Software (OSS) will account for nearly 20% of the industry’s output within the next five years. With 70% of OSS development being carried out in Europe and contributions growing from the Americas and Asia, the QualiPSo initiative will ensure that competitive advantages from the development of OSS-based ICT industries will primarily benefit Europe, Brazil and China, developing ‘high-knowledge’ employment opportunities in these areas.
In this context, QualiPSo is the ever largest Open Source initiative funded by the EC. Its ambition is to make Open Source a formidable lever to strengthen Europe’s competitiveness, accelerate ICT growth, and implement the i2010 policy for growth and jobs.
Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media, said: “Software technologies are critical as they provide the added value, intelligence and flexibility underlying competitive success in today's innovative markets. An industry today worth € 67 billion in the EU, software and service is essential for our future prosperity and even our economic survival because it is the lifeblood of all businesses and all public services”.
The QualiPSo project includes seven research and development areas.
1. Developing a long-lasting network of professionals caring for the quality of Open Source software for enterprise computing. Six Competence Centers – running the collaborative platforms, tools and process developed in this project – will be set up to support the development, deployment and adoption of OSS by private and public Information Systems Departments, large companies, SMEs, end users and ISVs. Of these Competence Centers, four will be based in Europe (in Berlin, Madrid, Paris, and Rome), one in China and one in Brazil (São Paulo).
2. Defining methods, development processes, and business models to facilitate the use of Open Source Software (OSS) by the industry.
3. Designing and implementing the “QualiPSo Factory”, an integrated environment that will facilitate and support the development of viable industrial OSS systems.
4. Developing a new Capability Maturity Model-like approach to assessing the quality of OSS. This model will be discussed with CMM’s originators, the Software Engineering Institute (SEI), with a view to formalizing it as an official extension of CMMI®.
5. Implementing best practices in information management (source code, documentation, etc.) to improve the productivity of OSS development and support.
6. Providing test suites and qualified integration stacks to demonstrate OSS interoperability across borders of any kind: technological, semantic and organizational.
7. Providing guidelines and tools to facilitate an intellectual property tracking process with Open Source, and define a coherent family of OSS licenses, compliant with national laws and European regulations.
The first results from this four-year project are expected at the end of 2007. The Competence Centers are planned to be deployed early in 2008.
QualiPSo is launched in synergy with Europe’s technology initiatives such as NESSI and Artemis, and will leverage Europe’s existing OSS initiatives such as EDOS, FLOSSWorld, tOSSad and others. The project will also leverage large OSS communities such as OW2 and Morfeo. QualiPSo is open to new members and will provide other companies with the opportunity to join at its first annual conference that will take place in autumn 2007.
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