The FOSS4SMEs project intends to equip European SMEs with the skills and competences to properly use Free and Open Source Software, so to improve their digital performances and competitiveness. To reach this objective, the project intends to develop a free online educational training for managers and staff of existing SMEs or start-ups, allowing them to profit from the opportunities offered by the digital era. The course will be freely available to individual learners and will be used by public and private bodies providing support, consultancy and training to businesses, which will be able to organise training courses using the results of the project. The project also aims to facilitate recognition and transferability of competences, thus mobility, by applying the ECVET system to the professional profile of the FOSS Business User (FOSS-BU).
What happened so far?
In May 2010 the European Commission launched the Digital Agenda for Europe. The agenda proposes to better harness the potential of ICT in order to foster innovation, economic growth and progress, pointing out the need to boost digital skills of the European workforce. However digital technologies and software may be expensive, insecure and not customisable to specific needs of users.
Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) offers anyone to use, study, copy, share and change the software in any way, as the source code is open. The possible benefits of using FOSS include: development of digital skills, improved software quality, the ability to customise software for own usage, no vendor-lock in meaning no vendor dependency (including vendor, product, and cloud lock-in), fair competition in the market, long-term sustainability of software, decreased costs, increased security and stability, protecting privacy and giving companies and users more control over their own device, own IT systems and associated digital artefacts.