Implementation of the Information Society Technologies (IST) programme support to research in and take-up of libre1 software

This document was prepared by INFSO/E2, for the purpose of assistance in locating relevant information for preparation of proposals. The work programme, calls for proposals, guides for proposers and accompanying documents regarding the evaluation process are the only sources of official information.

The European Commission (DG Information Society) has taken a number of initiatives in the domain of libre software, notably through the creation of the Working group on Libre Software. The Information Society Technologies programme implements the research and technology development aspects of support to libre software. Research and technology developments projects aiming at libre software results can be submitted to any action line of the IST programme. In addition, 3 action lines explicitely support tools for, development of , and adoption of libre software. This text describes the practical implementation of calls for proposals for these action lines, with links to essential information on requirements and how to submit proposals.

4th Call for proposals

This call was published Thursday 20 July 2000 with a closing date of 31 October 2000 at 17:00. The call text is accessible at:

The call text was posted as of 20 July 2000 only in .doc format. A PDF version (reproducing the Official Journal) should be posted no later than 26 July 2000.

Important notice: contrarily to the past procedures, all proposals must now be in at the IST Programme Research Proposal Office (see details in call for proposals) before the date and time of closure, independently of how they are sent (electronic submission, postal mail, courrier). All proposals arriving after this date and time will be deemed ineligible even if there is proof of them having being sent before the date and time of close of the call.

2 action lines of particular relevance to libre software are included in that call:

  1. Distributed development of software and systems (RTD)

This is action line IV.3.1. The text of the action line is accessible at:

The objective is "To develop and validate processes, methods and tools for supporting the development of software and systems by distributed teams and individual developers". Libre software undertakings are mentioned as one the sets of actors whose needs should be addressed by the research and development.

The guide for proposers is accessible at:

Part 1 (general information) (link is presently broken, should be fixed quickly)

Part 2A (specific RTD information)

Contact person for further information: Michel Lacroix

  1. Best practice actions to encourage the adoption of open source software (Take-up)

This is part (i) of action line IV.3.4. The text of the action line is accessible at:

The focus is on adoption of open source software in and for the development of embedded systems. The meaning of "focus" is the following: proposals addressing the focus are considered in priority, but proposals of exceptional interest addressing adoption of open source software in other areas can also be considered.

The guide for proposers is accessible at:

Part 1 (general information) (link is presently broken, should be fixed quickly)

Part 2B (specific take-up information)

The following sections in the second document (2B) are of particular importance:

IV.1.3 Best Practice actions

Appendix 5: special prescriptions for proposals in this action line, reproduced below:


Best practice actions in Action Line IV.3.4 [...] are expected to concentrate on a specific theme such as technology, functionality, application area or an industry sector. A proposal is expected to involve a set of user organisations facing similar challenges related to that theme and proposing to conduct a number of (typically 5 to 20) user-oriented individual experiments as described above in the section on Best Practice actions. The users would be supported by one or more expertise centres – one of them acting as co-ordinator of the best practice action - assisting in the definition, planning, staged execution and documentation of each experiment. These expertise centres would exploit the experience gained in these experiments to mount a broad scale campaign for wider adoption.

It is intended that expertise centres participate as principle contractors and that users will be members with a membership agreement to a principle contractor.

Please note that the following special keywords should be used for proposals addressing Best Practice Actions in action line IV.3.4:

- BESTP OPENS if they address objective (i) of the action line


The following recommendations are obvious, but past experience has shown that it is worth restating them: the proposals must precise which open source software components or platform(s) they are planning to use, and in particular provide evidence that the license covering this software is truly open source. The proposals must precisely describe how open source software will be used (in the development process or in the developed system itself), with reference to the existing practice in their organisation. Precise provisions for the public dissemination of the results of the action must be made. This dissemination can be either be in the form of open source software itself, or in the form of other re-usable results such as methods, processes and instruments for overcoming the difficulties in adopting open source software (or a combination of both).

Contact person for further information: Philippe Aigrain

5th Call for proposals

This call is planned to be published mid-September with a closing date mid-December 2000. It will include the third action line specifically addressing libre software.

  1. Initiation of open libre software development projects (Accompanying measures)

This is part (i) of action line IV.3.5. The text of this action line is accessible at:

The details of requirements for proposers will be published in the Guide for proposers at the time of call publication. It is presently planned (subject to further confirmation) that the implementation would be through networks of excellence co-ordinated by competence/ technical support centres. Each development initiation project would be a member of a network of excellence. As in the 4th call best practice actions, the principle of grouping in a network of excellence would be left open. For instance the members of one network of excellence could tackle development of several pieces of software with possible synergy in a similar domain, or development using a common model or support, or aim at software faced with a common challenge such as ease of learning, or multilinguality. As to keep open the possibility of proposals made by people or organisations who are not connected to/aware of networks of excellence in formation, it would also be possible (but not recommended) to submit proposals for individual development initiation projects, provided that the proposer(s) commit themselves to become members of one of the network of excellence, based on suggestions made by evaluators.

A proposal for a development initiation project would be expected to include: a description of the intended software functionality, a rationale for its usefulness, a state-of-the-art review and indication of feasibility, and a work plan for the production of functional specifications and software architecture design

For each network of excellence, the contract implementation would be in 2 phases/2commitments (both in 2001). The first phase would cover the production (over a short period) of the functional specs and architectural design for each member development initiation and the costs for the network of excellence set-up in that phase. The second phase would cover the cost of the libre software development up to threshold of usefulness allowing first release for each development initiation project, and the costs for the network of excellence operations in that second phase. The possibility of an individual GO/NO GO decision between phase 1 and 2 on each member project based on reviewing by external experts is under study.

Finally, it is likely that GPL-compatible licenses for the resulting software will be required in a special clause of the contract.

Contact person for further information: Philippe Aigrain

1Building on the choice of the Working group on libre software, this text uses the term libre software to avoid repetition of free / open source.