As part of the 2021 missions, we supported the European Commission in carrying out a study called FOSSEPS (Free Open Source Services for European Public Services).

The objective was to assess the state of Open Source and Free Software “critical” needing support.

Our first task was to discuss the notion of criticality. Indeed, the use of “criticality” (used by the European Commission) appeared ambiguous, as it could be understood as “critical” software in a given ecosystem (essential brick for the development of other solutions) or as software in a “critical state”, i.e. encountering difficulties of various kinds.

Through interviews and questionnaires, we have helped to propose a working definition of software sustainability and maintenance in order to detail the different essential components (technical maintenance, technical debt, indicators used, social and human factors of project development, etc.) and to integrate the key issues of the “maintainers”.