The Finnish Centre for Open Source Solutions is strengthening competitiveness by supporting open source technologies and businesses

Open source is a way to develop and distribute software. Everybody has the right to freely use, copy and distribute open source software without paying license fees. Moreover, anybody can make or ask someone to make modifications to open source software. This reduces vendor lock-in and increases competition.

The Finnish Centre for Open Source Solutions – COSS – was founded in 2003 to coordinate the cooperation and business network of open source in Finland. The objective of COSS is to strengthen the competitiveness of the software intensive industries in Finland, promote the growth and internationalization of open source businesses, and catalyze the development of the Finnish information society with the support of open source technologies and communities. The members of COSS include more than 130 open source vendors, solution providers, and public and private organizations deploying and using open source solutions and innovation models. Among the services COSS provides its members are networking and competence development, information services, business promotion as well as professional services for open source research, business development, and internationalization.

COSS focuses on following areas: enterprise solutions, the public sector, schools, and mobile and embedded systems. Firstly, open source is a working model and the creation of developers and developer communities. Distributed development and the ability of developers to collaboratively solve problems is - now and in the future - the core success factor of open source. Thus, the activities of COSS target on improving the competence and work conditions of the Finnish open source developers in global communities and strengthening the collaboration between companies and the deve loper communities by emphasizing their mutual benefit. In addition to this, COSS activates and coordinates technology and business related research activities in Finland in close collaboration with the leading universities, Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, and the EC. Together with partners, such as Finpro which is a global expert network, COSS executes business development programs for the growth and internationalization of Finnish open source solutions (OSS) businesses.

Secondly, open source solutions provide public sector with great opportunities to improve customer service, cost-efficiency and democratic participation of citizens. Public sector ICT investments also play an important role in the emerging open source market. COSS increases awareness of open source solutions in building the information society and public administration, advocates commitment to open standards and assures the equal treatment of open source solutions in public sector procurement, collects information and executes projects in open ICT, and helps in networking of public administration and companies.

In addition to the above, the focus areas of COSS include Finnish schools, and mobile and embedded systems. The use of open source software in addition to proprietary software is strongly encouraged in the Finnish schools and in fact, there are several schools in which open source software is commonly used. Mobile and embedded systems are emphasized because open source and Linux technologies are seen to have a major role in the next generation of embedded systems, e.g. in mobile devices, consumer electronics, and intelligent machines. In the future, a significant proportion of ICT business in Finland is expected to be based on leading-edge expertise in these mentioned technologies and application areas.

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Johanna Hakulinen