Helsinki 2023

APELL Conference report – Helsinki 2023

The APELL conference report 2023 has now been published.

The European Open Source Industry has grown 20-fold since the early 2000s. Meeting such an increasing demand, however, comes with challenges. The important augmentation of digital legislation at the national and European Union level has given Open Source businesses a chance to shape the future of their industry. The setting up of a new digital framework and significant funding towards innovation cannot be done without European Open Source actors, who are essential to the European digital ecosystem.

APELL held its second annual conference on 21st of June 2023 and brought together again the European open source business leaders to discuss these matters. The ideas conference was held this year in Maria 01, the Nordics' Leading Startup Campus, in Helsinki, Finland and the event was co-organized by COSS association. The main theme for the second annual conference was “The Future of Open Source Business in Europe”. Altogether the conference gathered this year 30 participants from multiple different European Open Source organizations across Europe. Most of them were CEOs or founders of European open source businesses, active in their respective national ecosystems, with the addition of several other experts.

During the conference day, participants attended in turns to three different working groups.

Working Group 1: How to fund OSS policy work in Europe?
The stakes for open source software as an innovation model are high, but reality is that the policy work around open source is critically underfunded. The funding coming in, and it is increasing, is almost exclusively from large software vendors with mixed open source credentials. How can we make sure that APELL members are effectively represented in the policy discussions in Europe at the early stages?

Working Group 2: Software will be regulated: what are the implications and
priorities for Europe’s OSS industry?
Software is going to be regulated in the future. What kind of impact will software regulations have on the OSS industry in Europe? How it might potentially be beneficial for the industry? What kind of challenges the industry might face for example regarding intellectual property rights and open source licensing? We need to ensure that the regulations can be balanced with the need for innovation and the promotion of the OSS industry in Europe. We must also identify strategies for complying with the software regulation and adapt to changing regulatory environments.

Working Group 3: EU Elections 2024: what should we do?
The next elections to the European Parliament will be held and a new commission formed in 2024. How could APELL make an early input? What kind of topics such as awareness and adoption, OSS advantages, digital autonomy and citizenship participation should we try to push forward in the debate?

These discussions and findings have now been gathered into one synthesis document.

APELL would like to warmly thank the COSS and OpenForum Europe employees for their role in the organization of the conference and conducting this final conference report. We would also like to thank all the participants for their work and support throughout the event. We were rewarded with fruitful discussions and many plans for the future. We would also like to thank Heikki Nousiainen from Aiven for his Keynote presentation.

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