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United Nations Technology Labs (UNTIL) Convenes Panel on Open Source

The Intellectual Property and Open Source Advisory Panel of the United Nations Technology Labs (UNTIL) convened its first meeting this week on the campus of Aalto University in Espoo, Finland.

The aim of the Panel is to create intellectual property and open source guidelines and processes to support the repeatable and sustainable development of digital solutions for United Nations projects. Once created, technology and non-technology organizations will be able to share and benefit from allowing their digital solutions to be used in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) and their requirement to open source.

Clarifying organizational models for open source programs impacts organizations and member states by establishing processes to enable developers and users of code and data to share and adopt the open code and organizational practices, processes, and toolsets in a structured and manageable way.

This will allow the benefits of high-quality open source digital solutions to be scaled across member states, resulting in cost savings and circumventing issues of vendor lock-in.   New open source organizational models will likely arise from the continuous non-permanent collaborations created across member states as they share foundational open source software.

We believe that the panel is the first external Advisory of its kind supporting the adoption of open source in a supranational organization.  Other such organizations rely on buying-in experts to manage open source strategy.  However, by sourcing the panel by directly approaching the heart of the communities building and supporting open source, UNTIL has brought together experts spanning open source community, legal, economics, strategy, and policy to establish standard policies and processes with tailored guidance as required for organizations wishing to participate with the UNTIL labs.

As the labs scale globally, so too will the use of the Advisory’s guidelines and processes. Thanks to their work following open source methodologies and outputs being shared on an open, creative commons license, other organizations will be able to adopt and re-use.

The Advisory brings a balanced view of how to best support sustainable development through open sourcing through a group of professionals with deep knowledge and commitment to open source software.

The panel members are:

  • Allison Randal, Open Source Strategist
  • Amanda Brock, CEO, Trustable Software and European Rep, Open Invention Network (Advisory Chair)
  • Andrew Katz, Partner, and Head of IP, Moorcrofts LLP
  • Carlo Piana, Founder, and Partner, Array Law
  • Frank Karlitscheck, CEO NextCloud
  • Glenn Svennson, SAP
  • Isabel Drost-Fromm, Open Source Strategist
  • Mirko Boehm, Director Linux System Definition, Open Invention Network
  • Sachiko Muto, CEO, Open Forum Europe

“Concerning the challenges that humanity faces today I personally believe we can only find solutions by working together. Having spent 15 years in open source, mainly on projects at the Apache Software Foundation, I have seen how these projects manage to build bridges across geographies, organisations, and cultures. I’m thrilled to see the United Nations tap into this pool of experience.” – Isabel Drost Fromm

“It’s an honour to participate in shaping the future of the UNTIL labs’ digital solutions and to support their achieving Sustainable Development Goals by following the Digital Development Principles through open source.” – Amanda Brock, CEO Trustable and Chair or the UNTIL IP and Open Source Advisory.

“I’m happy to see the United Nations adopting an Open Source policy. Open Source is all about empowering people and global collaboration while protecting the personal data and privacy of the users. So the United Nations and the Open Source Community share the same values.” – Frank Karlitschek, Founder and CEO Nextcloud

“Free and open source software is a vital component in meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and it’s great that the UN is taking FOSS seriously. I’m delighted to be involved in the UNTIL IP and Open Source Advisory.” – Andrew Katz, Partner, and Head of IP, Moorcrofts.

Images : Amanda Brock, CEO, Trustable Software and European Rep, Open Invention Network (Advisory Chair) and members of the Advisory Panel of the United Nations Technology Labs (UNTIL) 

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