8 open source software solutions for the public sector

Temps de lecture estimé: 9 minutes

Open source software is becoming more and more important, especially in the public sector in Europe. Open source implies providing access to its source code or segments of it, permitting utilization, modification, additions, and distribution. This means that the software is particularly transparent and therefore secure and reliable. By using an open source software in the public sector, you make sure to play it safe. You also stay independent by avoiding a vendor lock-in, which could save a lot of money.

OpenProject is a popular choice in the public sector when looking for project management software. But what about other software categories like file sharing, messaging or an office suite? There are several great software solutions on the market which are gaining more and more recognition in the European public sector.

Here are eight open source solutions, in addition to OpenProject, that you might take a closer look at:

  1. OpenProject – Project management software
  2. Nextcloud – Content collaboration platform
  3. Univention – Identity and access management
  4. Element – Messaging
  5. Open-Xchange – E-mails
  6. Collabora Online – Office suite
  7. Nordeck – Widgets for Element
  8. XWiki – Enterprise wiki

OpenProject: The open source project management software

You are reading this article on the OpenProject blog: We provide an open source software for efficient task and project management – all in one system. OpenProject is suitable for various project management methodologies, including classic, agile and hybrid approaches. It facilitates collaboration between distributed teams throughout the project lifecycle. OpenProject is designed for organizations of all sizes and industries that manage their projects according to open source principles and value data control.

Manage your tasks and projects with various OpenProject features like:

  • Work package table views
  • Gantt charts
  • Storages with a Nextcloud integration
  • Baseline Comparison
  • Agile boards

… and many more.

OpenProject - the open source project management software

See our website to learn more about OpenProject and start your free trial.

Nextcloud: The open source content collaboration platform

“Regain control over your data” – is what Nextcloud offers you. The open source software enables users to collaborate remotely and share data in an easy and secure way. This is particularly appreciated by customers from the public sector. Nextcloud works on-premises or as SaaS in a cloud version.

With the Nextcloud Hub, you can work and collaborate in four different areas:

  • Nextcloud Files: Universal File Access and sync platform
  • Nextcloud Talk: Private audio and video conferencing with text chat and screen sharing option
  • Nextcloud Groupware: Calendar, Contacts, Mail and other productivity features
  • Nextcloud Office: A LibreOffice-based online office suite

Nextcloud - the open source file management software

Good to know: If you already use OpenProject, you have one more reason to manage your files via Nextcloud! There is a Nextcloud integration for OpenProject and an OpenProject app for Nextcloud – to provide the best user experience based on open source software.

Try out Nextcloud file management in a free 60 minutes trial and get access to Nextcloud Files, Nextcloud Groupware, and Nextcloud Office.

Univention: The open source solution for identity and access management

Univention develops open source solutions for central identity and access management in large network infrastructures. Customers are enterprises, IT admins and especially educational and administrative organizations. Apart from the Univention Corporate Server (UCS), there is UCS@school, a platform particularly optimized for educational use cases.

UCS can be easily integrated into existing environments, and the integrated app center offers a multitude of enterprise solutions. Thanks to Univention, the open source and sovereign workplace solution openDesk is based on a reliable and secure IT infrastructure.

Univention - the open source solution for identity and access management

Take a look at Univention to see their products, read about use cases and start a demo.

Element: The open source messenger

Element is an open source and Matrix-based end-to-end encrypted messenger and secure collaboration app.. In contrast to other messenger software products, your communication is end-to-end-encrypted, which makes chatting about confidential information feel much more relaxed. Especially when using a messenger, people quickly forget that they may be exchanging sensitive data.

The Element messenger offers group chats for individuals or teams, voice and video chat and also bridges between communication silos like WhatsApp or Signal.

Element - the open source messenger software

Good to know: At OpenProject, we are passionate about using open source software solutions for our work. So we use Element to chat between colleagues, discuss topics in channels, and organize socializing events like game nights. Always knowing that our data is secure and end-to-end-encrypted.

Get started with Element by contacting their sales team and choose between a self-hosted or the fully-managed cloud version.

Open-Xchange: The open source e-mail provider

Open-Xchange (OX) provides an e-mail platform for hosting, telcos and organizations, especially for the public sector. These are OX’s different products for secure e-mail communication:

  • OX Cloud: An e-mail and collaboration solution for e-mail providers
  • OX App Suite: A modular e-mail and productivity suite
  • PowerDNS: A provider of secure open source and commercial DNS software
  • Dovecot Pro: A full-service e-mail platform with compliant support for the IMAP, POP3, LMTP, and Manage Sieve protocols

Open-Xchange - the open source e-mail provider

Take a look at Open-Xchange’s offer and book a cloud demo to try out the leader in open E-mail platforms.

Collabora Online: The open source office suite

Collabora Online is an open source office suite that supports all major document, spreadsheet and presentation file formats to integrate in your own infrastructure. It works both for organizations or enterprises and for hosting and cloud businesses. Available on desktop and mobile.

These are Collabora Online’s apps:

  • Writer: A WYSIWYG text editor that supports odt, .docx, .doc, .docm and .rtf
  • Calc: A spreadsheet app that supports .ods, .xlsx, .xls, .xlsm and .csv
  • Impress: A presentation editor that supports .odp, .pptx and .ppt
  • Draw: An app to draw shapes and diagrams that supports .odg and .vsd

Collabora Online - the open source office suite

Good to know: Collabora is well integrated online with Nextcloud, so you can create documents directly in Nextcloud Office and edit them collaboratively.

Try the Collabora online demo and see how to use online apps like Writer, Calc, Impress and Draw.

Nordeck: Open source widgets for Element, Matrix and Jitsi

Nordeck offers support in the classic digitization steps in terms of connecting and networking prefabricated solutions, as well as development services in the open source area. It stands for sovereign and secure digital solutions.

Apart from offering individual software solutions and consulting, Nordeck has developed widgets for Element:

  • NeoBoard: A collaboration board with fixed stage size and division into individual slides
  • NeoBarCamp: A session planner for the workshop format “BarCamp”
  • NeoDateFix: A widget to have scheduled video meetings
  • NeoChoice: A voting widget to make quick decisions based on individual opinions
  • API Toolkit: A reusable framework for creating matrix widgets

… and more to come!

Nordeck - open source widgets for Element

Take a look at Nordeck’s open source widgets for collaboration and communication.

XWiki: The open source enterprise wiki

XWiki offers an open source generic platform for developing projects and collaborative applications. Customers use XWiki as an open source alternative to Confluence.

XWiki offers many features, for example:

  • Advanced collaborative editing: WYSIWYG and macro editors
  • Structured information: AppWithinMinutes, livetables, blog and more
  • Enterprise integration: Groups management, LDAP connection and more
  • Flexibility and extensibility: Over 600 extensions

XWiki - the open source enterprise wiki

Take a look at XWikis features and try it out yourself.


A concentrated open source offer: openDesk

What is better than one open source tool? Right - several open source tools, combined in one workplace solution. This is what “openDesk – the Sovereign Workplace” aims to be, as we recently explained in another blog post: “The rise of the Sovereign Workplace: Your open source alternative to Microsoft and Google”. With openDesk, you get access to multiple open source software products combined in a flexibly customizable workplace solution. All the software vendors mentioned are currently working on enabling this interoperability for the public sector. More open source software solutions might be added to the sovereign workplace openDesk in the future!

Important to know in this context: Dataport provided the groundwork for openDesk with its Phoenix project.

Logos of the vendors and participants at the Sovereign Workplace

The decisive factors for the choice of software in the public sector are data sovereignty, transparency and security without vendor lock-in. Therefore, we should increasingly rely on open source software in Europe. Let’s continue working together to realize a true open source alternative. This way, companies stay independent and at the same time know: My data is safe.