Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
Log in
Community of Practice
Home About us Projects THREE ROSES


Three Regional Operating networks working on Strategic Electronic Scenarios.The objective of the project was to develop a relevant roadmap for future research work under the 6th Framework Programme of Research and Technological Development of the European Commission. It concentrated on state of the art of research and the use of Open Source Software in e-government and related e-business and learning processes.


Free/ Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) was rather unknown (or unwanted?) in local and regional government. At the moment some 97% of the software used by local and regional authorities was proprietary software (Microsoft c.s.). One of the objectives of the European Commission to encourage the use of FLOSS in public administration. The project Three Roses (a project financed by the European Commission under the 5th framework programme) focused on the use of FLOSS by local and regional authorities, in order to contribute to the realisation of this vision of the European Commission.

 Three Roses: a project and a network

Three Roses was not only the name of the project. Three Roses was also a network of the three European telematic networks representing local government associations (ELANET); representing European regions in the information society (eris@) and representing European cities in the information society (TeleCities). Together with the three other partners (CEMR, ANCI and HELIOS) they formed the project consortium.

 The objective of the project

The objective of the project was to develop a roadmap for future European research into FLOSS to support the development of the local and regional economies.

 Basic information about the project

The project started on the 1st of January 2003 and lasted for 12 months. It had a total budget of 250.000, financed by the European Commission under the IST Programme of the Fifth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development. The project was coordinated by the European Council for Municipalities and Regions (CEMR).


In order to be able to develop the roadmap (the way to achieve a vision), information was collected about the present state of the art with respect to the use of FLOSS in local and regional authorities and the future needs (on a short, medium and long term). To do so a constituency (a community) of users (public administrations), researchers and developers and managers was created. They exchanged their experiences and opinions in two workshops and in a virtual forum. These activities generated the information needed for the evolving bottom up roadmap and the plans for future action that will support the wider implementation of FLOSS in European local and regional authorities.

 The first workshop (April 2003)

From the discussions it emerged that a number of administrations were already exploring the advantages and issues around the use of FLOSS. However the adoption of FLOSS even amongst the most advanced of these administrations was relatively immature and they are only now starting to experience the full impact of the adoption of such technologies in their administrations. In other words there still was a long way to go. Mind you: this was the situation in April 2003.

Another important conclusion was that the respective groups (users and developers) knew little about each other. It turned out that the users should be more aware of what the researchers and developers are doing and that the researcher and developers should be more aware of the needs of the users. This should be seen as a major hindrance for the adoption of OSS in public administration. Other conclusions of the workshop were that there was a lack of confidence within the administrations. This was mainly caused by a lack of information. Another threshold for the implementation of OSS in public administrations was the fact the it depends on political decisions. Also it was felt that certification would support the uptake of FLOSS.

 The virtual exchange of opinions

In the period between the two workshops the members of the constituency were invited to continue the discussion in a virtual forum via the Three Roses project website. The information gathered in this way was added to the first workshop report and served as input for the second workshop.

 The second workshop (September 2003)

In this second workshop the three groups of participants (users, developers and managers) discussed the input in mixed groups (users together with developers and managers), in order to have a better discussion and to enable them to learn form each other.

The results of this workshop, that formed the input of the evolving bottom-up roadmap, again were summarised in reports can be downloaded from the Three Roses website.

 Some of the results:

_ There was a need for standardisation and for quality certification

_ Support to the users of FLOSS was a big Issue, because in the organisations that make use of OSS there was a lack of skilled people

_ Improve knowledge about FLOSS. The fact that there was not enough information yet about FLOSS leads to a lack of trust among public administrations

_ PA’s should develop a clear strategy with respect to the use of ICT and specifically FLOSS

_ There was a major role central government and the EU in the promotion of the use of FLOSS by local and regional authorities.

_ The implementation of FLOSS in a public administration depends on political decisions.

_ Also in public administrations there was very often a difference between what politicians want and what the IT people feel was good. There was a need for alignment between these two worlds.

_ There was the issue of support. Public administrations are used to buy software that comes with

a support package. This was not (always) the case with FLOSS.

Also it turns out that in those countries, where central government has made a real issue of FLOSS the chances for a successful up take are much higher. Hence also the important role of the EC in this respect.

 The roadmap

The results of the project was a so-called evolving bottom-up roadmap. In this roadmap three periods for action were being distinguished: short term, medium term and long term. The actions In this roadmap were deducted from the contributions made by members of the Three Roses constituencies and listed in the following four categories, thus presenting a strategy for future research into FLOSS:

 1. Research and technological development (RTD).

For example:

  • · Definition of e-government specific open standards and open standards layer for interaction between different systems
  • · Definition of new standards to exchange documents, invoices, etc.

 2. Public administration-specific applications.

For example:

  • · Housing Management Systems
  • · Social Benefits administration systems
  • · Secure messaging systems for passing confidential files between administrations

 3. Institutional developments.

For example:

  • · Build quality certification authorities or a kind of “FLOSSeG force”
  • · Establishment of European public development centre for FLOSS
  • · Library for administration of specific set of FLOSSeG components

 4. Strategic studies.

For example:

  • · Business models and best practices for “reuse”
  • · Quality assurance: What should be assured in terms of, for instance, security, functionality, continuity
  • · Diffusion of FLOSS in e-government - cultural barriers

 The future

• There was a need for more studies on experiences with FLOSS in PA’s

• To enable a good quality implementation of FLOSS constituencies (or communities) should be developed bringing together users and developers

• Depending on the situation and the benefits of the end-users (citizens) the questions should be answered: either FLOSS – or proprietary software or maybe even a combination of both

• Create support for regional development of FLOSS

• Three Roses as a cluster under Prelude

• A booklet will be published about the results of the Three Roses project for the benefit of the local and regional authorities. In this attention will also be paid to the legal aspects.

Document Actions