On January 27th, 2012, Roberto Andradas, a Libresoft sysadmin, came to our MSWL Case Studies II class to explain how they deployed and maintained for several years the Open Source Observatory and Repository for European Public Administrations: OSOR.EU.
The aim of this project funded by the European Union is to support and encourage the collaborative development and re-use of publicly-financed free, libre and open source software (FLOSS) applications developments for use in European public administrations.
At the end of 2011, OSOR platform became JOINUP, a new project joining libre software (from the OSOR.eu platform) and semantic assets (from the SEMIC.eu platform), to share and reuse open source software, semantic assets and other interoperability solutions for public administrations.
A very interesting aspect that OSOR.eu first and now JOINUP offer is the network of federated software forges. A software forge provides a web platform with tools to manage the development and maintenance of a software project: source code management, issue tracker, forums, mailing lists… It is common that any public administration installs and uses its own forge for the software that they develop and liberate, one example is the CENATIC Forge in Spain, or Adullact in France. The OSOR platform before, and now JOINUP, provide a search engine that explores a certain number of these forges, so you can find and browse software projects hosted in different places whithout leaving the common platform.
In addition to this, if you develop software interesting for public administration you can propose a project to be hosted in the JOINUP website. It is important to note that users of JOINUP may be companies, not necessary public administrations, what it needs to be related to the public administrations of Europe is the piece of software itself, not the developer community. The offered service for the accepted projects are: Project hosting, Virtual Forge (for at least 5 subprojects), Version control (SVN), Issue tracker, Downloads of binaries, Documentation, Forum and Wiki, mailing lists. In addition to this, the platform calculates metrics about the level of activity in your projects and informs to the visitors.
The OSOR platform was created as part of the European Commission IDABC programme. (IDABC stands for Interoperable Delivery of European eGovernment Services to public Administrations, Businesses and Citizens).
The JOINUP platform is one more step in this interoperability path, created under the European Commission ISA programme (Interoperability Solutions for European Public Administrations).
On march 2nd 2012, the ISA programme delivered a report on existing software forges, analysing 21 forges in the European Union and describing how barriers to interoperability can be reduced, and how to build an effective and efficient federation.