OSPOlogyLive Apeldoorn: Insights from The Dutch Tax Administration

OSPOlogyLive Apeldoorn set the stage for an exchange of insights in open source management and day-to-day operations. The set up included panel discussions, interactive presentations, and roundtable discussions, fostering an environment where participants could share their experiences, challenges, and solutions in real-time, paving the way for actionable insights and mutual learning.


Participants ranged from government bodies representatives like the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, to institutions such as TNO and SURF, as well as foundations and non-profits, including the Linux Foundation Europe, InnerSoruce Commons, Foundation for Public Code, Python Foundation and Apache Foundation.

Knowledge Archive Resources

The summit has put up a list of helpful resources, to ensure the knowledge shared during our summit remains accessible to everyone:

Roundtable Highlights

Sustainability of stewards - CRA definition of Steward

Participants tackled the challenges of funding and sustaining open-source stewardship organizations, particularly in the context of government and non-profit sectors. The discussion acknowledged the difficulty governments face in paying for freely available services, despite a strategic desire to do so. Ideas floated included creating specific infrastructure supports for stewardship organizations and exploring different funding models like donations or subscription services.

The conversation also touched on the complexities of compliance costs, the importance of risk mitigation through specific security analyses, and the potential for government contracts to specify open-source solutions directly.

The roundtable highlighted the need for strategic investment in open source for its public good and the challenges of balancing commercial and community interests in the open-source ecosystem.

Building an Open Source Foundation for Your Container Capabilities

In a roundtable led by John Leegte from the Dutch Tax Administration, participants discussed the shift towards using open-source software like Kubernetes for managing containers in IT. This move from commercial to open-source solutions is changing how organizations handle IT strategy, highlighting the benefits of Open Source Program Offices (OSPO) and improved container hosting. The conversation covered the choice between commercial and open-source Kubernetes, how to pick additional open-source tools, and the maturity of these options for business needs. The group also talked about the challenges of adopting these technologies, such as finding skilled staff and managing software life cycles effectively. The key takeaway was the growing preference for open-source solutions for their flexibility, agility, and potential to reduce reliance on specific vendors.

Sustainable IT

Participants talked about the environmental footprint of IT systems, the importance of efficient coding, power use, and the role of open-source software in sharing solutions for better resource use. Challenges identified included the uneven use of energy, a lack of focus on sustainable standards, reluctance to change from traditional methods, and the energy-intensive nature of AI technologies. To move towards a more sustainable IT sector, suggestions included celebrating government sustainability efforts, adopting sustainable hardware standards, and making sustainability a core part of policies and accountability.

The roundtable concluded that to address these issues, there’s a need for straightforward legislation, strategies for demand shaping to use energy more efficiently, and ways to make sustainability efforts more visible and rewarded within organizations. The top solutions proposed focused on measuring and reducing energy use, integrating sustainability into policy goals, and overcoming resistance to change by setting clear benchmarks and raising awareness about the importance of reducing computing power demand.

Governance Game

Participants engaged in the Governance Game a simulation designed to explore the complexities of managing an open source software (OSS) project within public organizations. The scenario involved two municipalities developing an OSS public transport system, facing challenges like adding an additional language to the system and ensuring GDPR compliance. These issues highlighted the need for effective governance and technical strategies to accommodate both organizations’ needs without compromising the project’s integrity.

The game underscored the importance of a governance body to mediate between the organizations and align technical decisions with broader project goals. Reflections on the game suggested a desire to adapt its framework to suit various organizational types beyond public policy entities. The session concluded with insights on improving project collaboration and governance through the game, inviting further contributions to its development on GitHub.

What’s Next?

OSPOlogylive organizing team in Europe is already thinking about the next one in the Netherlands, aiming to make it a yearly get-together for fans and experts of open source. Moreover, the best practices shared during the discussions has helped on the creation of a new chapter in the OSPO Book.

OSPOlogyLive Apeldoorn would not have been possible without the support and dedication of the Dutch Tax Administration OSPO team. Stay tuned for more updates, and let’s continue to drive open source management and operations throguh OSPO set up forward, together.