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We (Sachiko Muto, Gregorio Robles, Deborah Bryant, and me) have just had our special issue in IEEE Software on Open Source Software in the Public Sector released. A preprint of our editorial can be accessed (here)[https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/2308/2308.04766.pdf]. The issue at large includes four diverse contributions:

“CommunesPlone - An Original Open Source Model of Resource Pooling in the Public Sector”, by Robert Viseur and Nicolas Jullien, explores the journey of the CommunesPlone from a grass-roots OSS project initiated by two individuals from two municipalities to being hosted and developed through the publicly owned service company IMIO. The company is co-owned by 120 Wallonian municipalities, which it also serves, both in terms of enabling a collaborative requirements engineering process and offering necessary services to operationalize tools developed in the CommunesPlone OSS project.

“Toward a Free and Open Source-Driven Public Sector - An Italian Journey”, by Leonardo Favario, provides an experience report on the Italian government’s strategy to shift Public Administrations from a consumer-only role to a producer of OSS solutions, which is based on three key pillars: norms, tools, and community. The combination of these three elements is beginning to thrive in the Italian ecosystem, as evidenced by the number of administrations that started releasing their software with an OSS license. All in all, the contribution by Favario shows that the transition to an OSS-aware public sector is a complex process that requires a careful strategy.

“Beyond Procurement - How Entur Navigated the Open Source Journey to Advance Public Transport”, by Daniel Rudmark, Juho Lindman, Andreas Tryti and Brede Dammen, present a case study focusing on Entur, a public company that falls under the Norwegian Ministry of Transport and Communications, with a specific focus on offering sales and ticket solutions for the railways and travel planner for the public transport of Norway. The study details how Entur was able to develop its DX capabilities by reducing its dependence on externally procured tools and resources, and instead, harnessing the multiplier effect and innovation opportunities provided by OSS and Open Data communities.

“Clarity About Transparency - Software Transparency and Open Source Software Licenses in the U.S. Public Sector”, by Luke D. Holbrook, makes a case for increased transparency and improved security in software development in the US federal government environment. The study draws on field experience through a legal and intellectual property lens while working with government practitioners. The paper provides a contextual understanding of SBOM and its relationship to software licenses and the practical value of transparency, includes recommendations for technical policies, and grounds the reader in existing authorities and citations on the matter for the US.